Vocal fatigue becoming more common due to online teaching, say doctors in UAE

Zoom laryngitis will have a drastic impact on the health of professionals using online means for communication, according to healthcare workers

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Little boys attending to online school class.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Little boys attending to online school class.

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Doctors have raised concern over the increasing number of teachers being afflicted with vocal fatigue due to pandemic-induced distance learning.

Zoom laryngitis will have a drastic impact on the health of professionals using online means for communication, according to healthcare workers.

The main symptoms include hoarseness of voice, cracked or split voice, vocal fatigue, throat discomfort, neck pain and dry cough, said Dr Shahriyar Azad, specialist otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at Prime Healthcare group and Prime Medical Center Barsha.

“The prevalence of voice-related disorders in teachers have witnessed an increase of approximately seven to 10 per cent in the last six months, although no statistically proven report is available as yet,” he said.

While teachers use their voice as a primary tool of trade many tend to overreach while delivering lessons online. They feel out of their comfort zone as a result being louder or filling silences or just speaking at a faster pace to get across a point, sometimes stemming from a tendency to overcompensate.

Dr Ravinder Verma, specialist ENT, Medcare Medical Centre – JBR, said: “Straining of voice during speaking for long durations without breaks, shouting, singing, whispering, using falsetto voice can lead to the friction of vocal cords that develop vocal nodules —called Teacher’s nodules or Singer’s nodules in Medical literature.”

Identifying the risk factors is critical for preventing voice-related complaints and its recurrence, Dr Pramodkumar Muntode, specialist – ENT, Aster Clinic, Qusais 1. “Many teachers suffer from various voice issues such as throat discomfort, vocal fatigue and hoarseness. It has been also reported that, in severe cases, they experience voice disorders such as vocal nodules. Therefore, various measurement methods have been used, such as self-reporting questionnaires, aerodynamic assessment, acoustic assessment, auditory assessment, video stroboscopy or laryngoscopy, phoniatric examination and noise level assessment that can prove to be helpful,” he said.

Staying avoiding strain and remaining hydrated are important factors for having strong vocals, said Prof Dr Nahel Sorour, consultant – ENT, Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi.

“Teachers with sore throat or nasal blockage must consult a doctor and get a cure for their condition before taking classes or talking for a longer duration of time. People should avoid raising their voices above normal levels. They should avoid straining their throat while facing issues such as the sore throat or nasal blockage. They should also avoid cold drinks and drink plenty of water.”

 

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