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Personal Voice Amplifiers: Secrets for Educators to Preserve their Voices

By Federico Holm, at Enersound

It’s always helpful to begin an article on this matter with a statement from an authorized source, and when it comes to voice problems and disorders, one of the top specialists is Nelson Roy, professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Utah. According to him, approximately 10% of the workforce in the United States would be classified as “heavy occupational voice users.” And if this information is outstanding, Professor Roy makes us think in the following fact: in the US, 3.3 million elementary and secondary school teachers represent the largest group of professionals who use their voice as a primary tool to work.[1]

It is not surprising that teachers are thought to be at higher risk for occupation-related voice disorders than the general population. One explanation for the increased frequency of voice disorders in teachers relates to the voice demands of teaching school. Teaching is one of the most vocally-demanding professions because of its long periods of speaking. Often added to that is environmental noise competing with teacher´s voice for the students’ attention, inadequate ventilation, few opportunities for resting the voice, not to mention extra voice demands such as parenting, coaching or artistic and cultural activities.

Let´s take a few more facts from Professor Roy´s study: recent epidemiological evidence has confirmed that voice disorders are a common occupational hazard of teaching school, with 11% of teachers reporting a current voice disorder, and 58% experiencing a voice disorder during their career. This point is a huge fact to consider: more than a half of the teachers experiences some kind of voice related disorder, this means that 6 out of 10 elementary and secondary teachers has suffered from his or her voice.

Several studies from the Journal of Voice and the JSLHR also suggest that teaching is a high-risk occupation for voice disorders and that this health problem may have significant work-related and economic effects, limiting their current job performance and affecting future career options. Over 20% of teachers consulted had missed work due to their voice, and were likely to report having a voice problem (15%), having 10 specific voice symptoms.  Furthermore, these voice disorders adversely affect job performance and attendance, with 43% of teachers having to reduce classroom activities, and 18% of teachers missing work on a yearly basis because of voice-related problems. Because of lost workdays and treatment expenses, the societal costs-in the U.S. alone-have been estimated to be nearly $2.5 billion annually.[2]

Despite this, we want to clarify some issues. Given the circumstance that teacher´s voice is constantly under pressure, professionals have several tips when it comes to voice care. The Voice and Swallowing Institute recommends warming up before teaching, just as a singer or actor warms up their voice.  In addition, balance the vocal demands of teaching with vocal rest is also advised. Quiet the class environment as much as possible is also important, as speaking against background noise is quite difficult, and puts a significant added strain on the voice.

Also you can always get some extra help from devices providing extra power. Personal Voice Amplifiers are a great solution to help teachers dealing with environmental issues such as noisy classrooms and troublemaking groups. Using an amplifier can be the solution to reach the back of the classroom, and become a helpful tool for people with voice problems, especially those who must talk loud enough to be heard.

For this reason, personal amplification systems are an excellent choice, and are increasingly becoming a necessary tool. Using a microphone to amplify the voice may help prevent trauma to the vocal fold mucosa by reducing the need to speak loudly and forcefully. Therefore, microphones together with personal voice amplifiers can be beneficial in both the prevention of voice disorders and as part of the treatment plan for patients with existing voice disorders (The Voice and Swallowing Institute).

As we care about the work of teachers and professors, we bring solutions in order to make their lives better and their jobs easier. That´s why we present here the Enersound PA-200, a state-of-the-art personal waistband voice amplifier with a sleek modern design. It is hands-free, worn like a belt around the waist and very comfortable. Teachers and professors no longer have to strain their precious voice thanks to the Enersound PA-200 and its powerful 10-watt amplifier.

 PA-200 Waistband Voice Amplifier

 

It can be used indoors and outdoors. It is powered by a NiMH rechargeable battery and an intelligent charging circuit that extend the battery life up to 12 hrs per charge for the longest lasting performance of its kind. It features a microphone and an auxiliary input to connect to an MP3/CD player that allows playing of pre-recorded presentations.

This system is ideal for teaching, but also for guided tours, meetings, entertainment, corporate training, coaching, fitness, public speaking, kids camps, sales presentations, classrooms, meeting rooms, houses of worship, tour groups, fitness centers, kids’ camps, sales presentations, trade shows, auctions, as well as for many other applications where voice amplification is needed.

Behind the PA-200 lays a great deal of previous investigation and development, and we are proud to say that it all became worthwhile. Matt Wadsworth at Whiteland High School reports that the Enersound voice amplifier has been a real voice saver for him. He has used it at summer basketball camps. He claims that in the past it has been a real challenge to talk loud enough for all campers to hear, but now they have no problems hearing when using the PA 200. And even more important, “I also plan on using it in class on the days I’m sick and unable to project my voice”.

Enersound is also proud to be at service at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, supporting their staff, who claims that they really like the fact that the PA-200 is mobile and worn around the waist, as well as that they are rechargeable. All these features make the PA-200 a versatile product to be used in several environments and everyday situations.


 

[1] ROY, N. (2005): “Teachers With Voice Disorders. Recent Clinical Trials Research”. Available in http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2005/050412/f050412b1.htm

[2] ROY, N. (2005): “Teachers With Voice Disorders. Recent Clinical Trials Research”. Available in http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2005/050412/f050412b1.htm

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