What is Voice Therapy?
Voice therapy is intervention to teach vocal hygiene, rebalance vocal subsystems in the presence of an injury, and to prevent any further vocal injuries. Voice therapy teaches you how to produce voice in the optimum way.
How do I know if I need Voice Therapy?
If you are a professional voice user, it is important to keep your voice in good working order. Professional voice users are not just singers and actors, but auctioneers, teachers, reporters, coaches or personal trainers, phone operators, and any other person who uses his or her voice to make a living.
You might need voice therapy if you are experiencing any of the following
- Hoarseness that won't go away
- Vocal cord nodules, polyps or cysts
- Vocal cord hemorrhage (bleeding) or scarring from past surgeries
- Vocal Cord Dysfunction (mimics asthma and is often misdiagnosed)
- Parkinson's Disease, communication issues including slurred words and decreased loudness
- A desire to change your voice because you are making a transgender change
- Vocal cord paralysis or paresis
- Spasmodic Dysphonia
- Loss in range of singing voice or other singing voice issues
- Acid Reflux
- Cancer of the head or neck
- Chronic cough or clearing of the throat
- Pain or fatigue when speaking
- Loss of voice when speaking
- A voice that is just not normal sounding to you or others
The American Academy of Otolaryngologists recommends that anyone experiencing vocal changes for over 2 weeks should be examined by an otolaryngologist.
What does Voice Therapy entail?
A speech language pathologist with special training in voice and voice disorders will provide therapy to balance the subsystems of breathing, sound and resonation. Vocal hygiene, such as hydration and eliminating vocally traumatic behaviors, will also be addressed. Voice therapy may be appropriate for you before and after laryngeal surgery, as you will be expected to return to using your voice and pace your vocal demands accordingly. Upper body tension may also be addressed if appropriate.
Click to the right to listen to an example of a patient who received voice therapy for 3 months, once per week for an hour at a time. She is 51 and had a diagnosis of dysphonia.