Voice issues can be a result of vocal fold injuries, overuse of the voice, and/or inefficient use of or misuse of the mechanism. Poor voice quality and vocal limitations can directly affect the ability to do one’s job and day-to-day activities if the voice is hoarse, breathy, weak, or fatigues easily. This is particularly challenging if the individual is a professional voice user (singer, actor, professional public speaker).
DIAGNOSTIC VOICE EVALUATION
During an initial appointment, the speech pathologist will perform an assessment of the voice. This is a 90 minute exam and typically involves a detailed discussion of the specific voice issues followed by a series of vocal tasks designed to determine the capabilities and limitations of the voice. An acoustic and/or aerodynamic evaluation may be performed as a part of this assessment. The results of this visit will help to determine appropriate treatment and management options. If the patient has not been seen by a physician, they will be referred to one and required to do so prior to beginning a voice therapy program. If the patient already has seen a physician and received a referral for therapy, it is important to bring the results of that examination to the first appointment.
Expert, personalized voice therapy and treatment with a voice-qualified speech pathologist can help you identify better voice production techniques, establish an ideal vocal hygiene program and daily voice use schedule, and improve voice quality by using voice therapy “exercises” for the speech and/or singing voice. Ideally these new behaviors over time help to eliminate vocal fold injury and restore normal voice quality and vocal fold tissues. Treatment plans and the length of therapy vary depending on the patient’s specific diagnosis, progress and results. A typical treatment plan is 6-8 sessions over a period of several months. Sessions are 50 minutes in length.
PROFESSIONAL VOICE CARE
Professional voice users may receive specialized therapy services depending on the vocal demands of their specific occupation. A professional or occupational voice user is anyone whose voice is essential to their job. Singers, actors, public speakers, teachers and many other professions that require voice to perform their duties are included in this group. The speech pathologist will do a thorough assessment of the speaking and/or singing voice if necessary to determine the best course of treatment. Technical problems or poor technique can be addressed in this type of therapy since the speech pathologist is qualified to address those issues.
Workshops and Lectures on Vocal Health include education on the vocal mechanism and how voice is produced. Participants will learn how to identify vocal problems, and tips and tools for establishing and maintaining healthy voice for the busy vocal lifestyle.
- Vocal Fold Injuries (i.e., nodules, polyps, cysts, capillary ectasia)
- Vocal Fold Atrophy or Bowing
- Neurological Voice Impairments
- Non-organic Voice Disorders (problem with the use of the mechanism)
- Transgender Voice Therapy
- Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement
- Singing Voice Issues (rehabilitative, post-operative, technical)