The sound of our voice makes us who we are, it’s part of our identity. Many of us take for granted our voice until it changes and speaking becomes a problem and starts to affect our daily life. These changes may creep up on you gradually or at other times the voice can change suddenly.
What causes voice disorders?
There are a number of reasons our voices change, the main ones being:
- Structural changes
e.g. vocal nodules, vocal polyps, vocal cord palsy, reflux changes
- Functional changes, the way we are using our voice
e.g too much tension in the laryngeal area, insufficient breath support
Often there are a number of reasons our voices change, with behaviours, emotions and lifestyle factors influencing the voice disorder
Before therapy can begin you will need an Ear, Nose and throat consultation (ENT). The consultant will assess your voice using nasendoscopy and give you a diagnosis. The ENT report will be required prior to therapy.
A holistic approach to voice therapy is key and your therapy will include:
- Full assessment – detailed case history and objective/subjective assessment of your voice.
- Explanation of voice production and your disorder
- Advice of general voice care
- Practical voice exercises to improve/ optimise voice quality. E.g exercises to reduce laryngeal tension, pitch work, voice projection.
- Therapy will only be successful if you practice the advice and exercises on a daily basis.
Working as a specialist in clinical voice for many years, I know that for therapy to be effective;
the relationship between the person and the voice must be understood and incorporated in the therapy programmeColton & Cooper 96
I am a member of the British Voice Association and take a keen interest on keeping up to date with the latest research. See my blog on ‘the voice and looking after your voice over video calls‘.