purpose: to identify the prevalence of the vocal dysfunction which caused medical leave among high school teachers from the "state education system". methods: a survey was conducted analyzing school teachers' medical reports who were licensed for medical leave in 2005 and 2006 which were registered in the "central superintendence of medical expert reports and occupational health of the state of rio de janeiro". from 554 school working teachers in the above-mentioned period, 130 medical reports were analyzed and on a leave because of several vocal dysfunctions diagnostics, trying to identify the medical leaves arising from vocal dysfunction. results: it was clear that despite of the high prevalence rate of the negative vocal sign symptoms among school teachers, just 6.9% were on a leave due to vocal dysfunction. the results also allow for reflections on the relation amongst voice, body, breathing and emotion in the teaching world. conclusion: it may be concluded that even when dysphonia usually a problem in the educational work, we know very little on official data concerning teachers who are licensed for medical leave. more research is required for the ones who are responsible for policy decisions, to be aware and sensible to the importance of the issue, for the country, in social and economics terms. we emphasize the need for speech therapist work development among school teachers to be a multidisciplinary job, with prevention programs and policies that are very important to implement and also to promote vocal health programs that may be offered to school teachers.