Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Webb Parker

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Mark D. Waymire

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Ann E. Blankenship

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Edward Hafer

Committee Member 4 Department



Vocal fatigue and dysphonia are considered to be common hazards associated with occupational voice users. Teachers, due to the consistent communication demands of the profession, represent the highest percentage of clinical voice disorder patients (Verdolini & Ramig, 2001). Voice related injuries in teachers could result in lost wages due to missed work, additional costs for medications, therapy, and surgeries, and teacher attrition (Verdolini & Ramig, 2001).

The purpose of this study was to observe specific teacher behaviors and classroom environmental factors among and between three self-reported dysphonic and three self-reported non-dysphonic music teachers. The researcher observed each participant daily during the same ensemble class period for three consecutive days. Participants also engaged in a semi-structured interview following the three-day observation period. The observed behaviors were analyzed in order to determine if teacher talk time, amount of time spent talking over specific classroom noises, and amount of teacher talk within a “very loud” classroom (>80dBA) could be contributing factors for vocal attrition. The results indicated that the difference between amount of time spent talking, talking over students talking, talking over students musicing, and talking over other classroom noise was insignificant among the dysphonic and non-dysphonic teachers.

Interviews revealed that all of the participants do not smoke, try to remain hydrated, and are all involved in at least one extra curricular activity. Self-reported dysphonic teachers experience high levels of stress as well as environmental or biological concerns such as poor classroom acoustics, chronic vocal nodules, or acid reflux that affect them on a daily basis. Study limitations and further investigations are suggested.