VOICESpeech Therapy for Adults
It’s easy to take our voices for granted. They’re just always there to help us communicate. But, when we are having trouble with our voice, or we’ve lost it, we realize how important it is to keep it healthy and working well.
You may be experiencing a voice disorder if you have the following signs or symptoms:
- Hoarse, raspy or scratchy voice
- Breathy or whispery voice
- Trouble getting your voice to be louder or quieter
- Trouble changing your voice from high-pitched or low-pitched
- Require a lot of effort to speak “normally”
- Pain in your throat when you speak
Speech therapy may include:
- Establishing healthy vocal habits through lifestyles changes
- Reducing vocal strain
- Eliminating harmful vocal behaviours
- Teaching healthy vocal behaviours
- Using vocal exercises to improve voice quality
Whether you’re experiencing problems with your voice due to chronic illness (colds, allergies or bronchitis), exposure to irritants (like Ammonia), talking all day at work, or even just from cheering at a concert or game, Speech Therapy Centres of Canada (STCC) can help you get your voice back. Most voice disorders can be treated when discovered early.
How does your voice work? How does it make sound?
Your voice is produced by the vibration of the vocal folds opening and closing rapidly as air from the lungs passes through them. The quality of your voice is determined by the health of the vocal folds themselves, as well as how you use the muscles in your vocal tract – the spaces in your throat, mouth, and nasal passages.
When your voice is working well, there is a balance and flexibility between the breath, vocal fold vibration, and the vocal tract. You are able to project your voice or speak quietly. You can communicate excitement or calm, coach the soccer team or sing a lullaby.
How does the voice become damaged?
Your voice is affected by your general health, the environment, and how you use it. If you have not already seen an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor for your voice problem, the speech-language pathologist (S-LP) will suggest a referral to one through your family doctor. The ENT will make the diagnosis and recommendations for treatment.
Some voice disorders, like nodules or muscle tension dysphonia may be treated with voice therapy by a speech-language pathologist. Other disorders, like reflux laryngitis, may be treated with a combination of voice therapy and medication.
There are some voice disorders that are treated with surgery (e.g. polyps, or throat cancer). Even if surgery is required, S-LP treatment can help with preparation for the surgery and recovery afterwards.
Voice therapy at the STCC is custom-designed to meet the unique needs of each client. Therapy may consist of an established program or, the S-LP may combine several different techniques in order to achieve the highest level of success.
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