Vocal health, hygiene, and use of university professors within and outside of the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the vocal health, hygiene, and use of university professors teaching at-risk populations. The self-reported habits of professors of education, business, social work, and psychology were compared to the self-reported habits of professors of communication sciences and disorders (CSD) to determine if there was any difference between these two groups for whom risk factors are comparable but knowledge of those factors significantly differs. Method: A survey comprising 40 questions regarding vocal health, hygiene, and use, was sent to a total of 3018 professors at 61 different universities. A total of 80 professors from CSD and 162 professors from other departments responded to the survey. Results: Responses were analyzed for statistically significant differences using multiple independent-sample T-tests. Analyses included comparing: 1) all respondents from both groups, 2) those respondents who reported the most hours lectured from both groups, 3) those respondents who reported having the largest class sizes from both groups, and 4) those respondents who reported the least hours lectured from both groups. While statistical analyses demonstrated some significant differences between each subgroup, few differences were observed between professors of CSD and professors of other departments. Conclusion: The paucity of statistically significant differences between any of the subgroups suggests that professors of CSD are neither more aware of their vocal health nor more likely to engage in more beneficial vocal practices. Education about vocal health and pathology alone is not enough to increase the use of beneficial vocal habits for this at-risk population.