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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 74  |  Page : 17--22

Effects of noise and acoustics in schools on vocal health in teachers


Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Lady Catherine Cantor Cutiva
Department of Public Health, University Medical Center, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam
Netherlands
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.149569

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Previous studies on the influence of noise and acoustics in the classroom on voice symptoms among teachers have exclusively relied on self-reports. Since self-reported physical conditions may be biased, it is important to determine the role of objective measurements of noise and acoustics in the presence of voice symptoms. To assess the association between objectively measured and self-reported physical conditions at school with the presence of voice symptoms among teachers. In 12 public schools in Bogotα, we conducted a cross-sectional study among 682 Colombian school workers at 377 workplaces. After signed the informed consent, participants filled out a questionnaire on individual and work-related conditions and the nature and severity of voice symptoms in the past month. Short-term environmental measurements of sound levels, temperature, humidity, and reverberation time were conducted during visits at the workplaces, such as classrooms and offices. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine associations between work-related factors and voice symptoms. High noise levels outside schools (odds ratio [OR] = 1.83; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.12-2.99) and self-reported poor acoustics at the workplace (OR = 2.44; 95% CI: 1.88-3.53) were associated with voice symptoms. We found poor agreement between the objective measurements and self-reports of physical conditions at the workplace. This study indicates that noise and acoustics may play a role in the occurrence of voice symptoms among teachers. The poor agreement between objective measurements and self-reports of physical conditions indicate that these are different entities, which argue for inclusion of physical measurements of the working environment in studies on the influence of noise and acoustics on vocal health.






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