What is Voice Therapy?
Voice therapy aims at eliminating or improving voice disorders or dysphonia, that is, the problems associated with the production of vocal sounds or phonation. Voice problems can occur due to various reasons like vocal fold abnormalities, vocal nodules or polyps, muscle tension dysphonia, vocal fatigue, and even anxiety and depression. Other risks factors include –
- Alcohol intake
- Allergies, ageing
- Vocal misuse or overuse, like screaming
- Improper throat clearing for a prolonged period of time
- Psychological stress
- Neurological disorders
- Throat dehydration
- Throat cancer
- Thyroid problems
- Upper respiratory infections or illnesses like common cold
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
From a voice therapy program, one can expect his/her voice to be stronger and sound more natural, thus enhancing the overall quality of voice. Besides, voice therapy can also help prevent any vocal disorders and to keep one’s voice healthy. This can especially be effective for singers and other voice professionals who can take part in voice therapy sessions to train their voice for avoiding any vocal problems.
A typical voice therapy includes vocal exercises tailor-made for each individual depending upon the type and severity of his/her voice disorders. A professional speech therapist takes over the sessions and works on analysing and correcting the vocal problem a person is suffering from. A voice therapy program can be both traditional and online, and the speech-language pathologist (SLP) or voice therapist implements the same procedures, exercises and other treatment methods for both clinic-based and online voice therapy sessions.
When Should You be Concerned?
There are certain red flags that denotes it is time you see a speech-language pathologist. Watch out for the common signs and symptoms of voice disorders –
- Roughness or hoarseness of voice
- Strained voice quality
- Abnormal pitch and volume changes
- Abnormal resonance
- Phonation breaks
- Vocal quality varies throughout the day
- Increased stress and vocal effort while speaking
- Fatigue due to prolonged voice use
- Decreased vocal endurance
- Throat pain or tension in laryngeal muscle/tissue
- Frequent throat clearing or coughing
Whom to Contact?
If you notice some or all of the above symptoms, consult a speech therapist immediately. The role of a voice therapist is to examine and assess your vocal problems and determine the underlying cause of your vocal problem. Depending upon the intensity, cause and type of the voice disorder, the SLP will decide the best diagnosis and treatment method. The best way that treats most of the dysphonia cases is through voice therapy.
Apart from the clinical services, you can also take part in voice therapy at home services, which proves to be more effective in many situations. Right from the assessment, diagnosis and planning to the treatment stage, a trained and skilled SLP would help you to speak better, thus enhancing your quality of life.
Voice Disorders that We Treat
We treat a range of voice disorder types including –
- Vocal fold nodules, cysts or polyps (noncancerous lesions)
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Neurological voice disorders
- Precancerous or cancerous lesions
- Leukoplakia (white patches inside the mouth area)
- Spasmodic Dysphonia
- Pharyngeal constriction
- Conversion dysphonia or aphonia
- Vocal trauma
Never delay your vocal problem treatment as it may get worse over time.