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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Occupational Voice Use

Contact Information
Voice and Swallowing Clinic, UW Hospital
(608) 263-6190
Voice Clinic, 1 S. Park
(608) 287-2500
UW Health physicians and staff understand the importance of voice use to an occupational voice user, or someone who depends on voice quality to perform the daily functions of a profession.
Common occupational voice users are:
  • Teachers
  • Clergy
  • Attorneys
  • Customer service representatives
  • Marketing professionals
  • Dispatchers
  • Emergency operators
  • Actors
  • Singers

Occupational Voice Disorders


The two most common occupational voice disorders often occur together. They include:

  • Hoarseness
  • teacher lecturingPoor vocal endurance

Hoarseness or other voice changes interfere with the quality and clarity of the voice, resulting in difficulty for listeners. Poor voice endurance results in vocal fatigue, lower volume, frequent repetition and increased effort to produce sound.


Risk factors include trauma to the vocal folds caused by loud talking, voice fatigue, poor air quality, background noise and stress. Biological risk factors include smoking, alcohol use, medical history and physical health. Personality styles, such as being an extrovert, can also make some more susceptible to voice disorders.


Signs and Symptoms


Signs and symptoms of voice loss may include:

  • Gravelly voice
  • Pitch breaks
  • Inability to talk
  • Hoarseness
  • Whispering
  • Breathiness
  • Throat pain
  • Chronic cough or throat clearing
  • Poor vocal energy
  • Throat soreness

If Your Voice is Your Tool of the Trade


Good vocal health can keep you talking, successful in your career and help decrease the risk of voice disorders. Identify your own risk factors, signs and symptoms, and seek medical attention if you have hoarseness unrelated to an illness for two or more weeks. If you smoke and are experiencing hoarseness, seek medical attention.