ScienceDaily published an article this week entitled Teacher Talk Strains Voices, Especially For Women. A study by the National Center for Voice and Speech (NCVS) concluded that female teachers use their voices 10% more than their male counterparts while teaching, and 7% more at home. The deputy director of the NCVS alluded to a higher number of voice problems in females, although the article failed to enumerate the type and severity of those problems. So, I'll have to fill in my own details:
I probably do talk more than my male colleagues, although I doubt that I speak louder. Perhaps my "teaching" voice is louder as compared to my everyday voice, though - I've always been one of those weaker speakers, despite my best strengthening efforts. You'd think that constant talking since the start of my career would help, but it hasn't, really.
I do have a number of voice problems. I'm recovering from the flu, which hit me like a bus last week, and my first symptom was a sore throat and a strained voice. Yes, strained like the peas meant to be fed with a small rubber-coated spoon. Mushy and kinda gross.
This is my 6th year of teaching, but it's the first in which I haven't lost my voice the second week of school. Also the first when my calves aren't killing me at the end of the day, but that's due in part to my decision that it really is okay to wear sneakers to school.
My singing voice has gotten worse. It was already pretty bad to begin with, but now it's absolutely horrible. I may also be losing my hearing.
When will OSHA recognize this as a safety hazard and require school districts to purchase those cool teacher microphones that hang around your neck?
12 hours ago