WHAT IS BEHAVIORAL VOICE THERAPY?
Behavioral voice therapy is a program conducted by a speech pathologist who specializes in voice & singing disorders to help improve the quality and health of your voice. This typically includes respiratory training, resonance training, exercises designed to strengthen the vocal cords, and to ensure appropriate technique is used to reduce the risk of any further damage to the voice/vocal cords.
Here at Raleigh Capitol ENT, our inhouse speech-language pathologist has extensive experience in voice and singing disorders, including muscle tension dysphonia, vocal cord nodules/polyps, paralysis/paresis of the vocal cords, age-related voice changes, changes due to reflux, singing disorders, and so much more.
If you have any concerns regarding your voice, please contact Raleigh Capitol ENT to schedule your evaluation. We are here to help you find your voice!
CHANGES IN MY VOICE
Changes can occur to the voice for many different reasons. Sometimes it can occur suddenly, while others may notice a gradual change. These can happen at any point in your life.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR MY VOICE?
The treatment for a voice disorder will vary depending on each individual and the severity of their problem. There are a few steps to assessing this.
First, one of our highly skilled ENT physicians will assess your vocal cords. They may choose to do this using perceptual measures (i.e., listening to the quality of your voice, your complaints, etc.), with a mirror to view the throat, or through flexible laryngoscopy. After this, they may choose to refer you to our in-house speech-language pathologist.
The speech pathologist will perform a stroboscopy. This is a high definition assessment of the vocal cords and includes information on how they vibrate when you’re making sound. From there, the speech pathologist will develop a treatment plan with you based on what your needs are. This could include returning to your ENT physician for surgical options or beginning behavioral voice therapy.
WHAT ARE SOME SYMPTOMS OF VOICE CHANGES?
- Losing your voice
- Raspy voice quality
- Voice quality is unpredictable
- Weak voice quality
- Sounding “sick”
- Shortness of breath with voice use
- “Gravelly” voice quality
- Difficulty sustaining your voice during conversations and/or presentations
- Feeling the voice is “forced”
- Rough/harsh voice quality
- Changes in the pitch of your voice (may be noticeable with age)
RECOMMENDATIONS TO PRESERVE YOUR VOICE
- Drink plenty of water
- Reduce/eliminate caffeine
- Reduce/eliminate acidic foods from your diet
- Avoid harsh voice use (i.e., shouting)
- Rest the voice when possible
- Sing in an appropriate key for your voice
- Do not whisper
- Do not try to “push through” vocal fatigue/voice loss
- Use a humidifier when possible
- Avoid exposure to recirculated air vents when possible