When changing habits practice makes perfect

Speech Pathology can improve your pronunciation, irrespective of the cause

A recipe for success in therapy: Fun

A recipe for success in therapy: Family Involvement

Acccurate diagnosis is key

A thorough assessment is critical for a clear diagnosis

Computer Apps can help with practice

Orofacial Myofunctional Practice can enhance facial aesthetics

Orofacial Myofunctional Practice can help you change oral habits

Speech Pathology can help you to overcome your communication challenges

Orofacial Myofunctional Practice modifies swallowing, chewing and breathing habits

Voice

What is voice?

Voice is the sound produced by your larynx or ‘voice box’. The larynx contains the ‘engine room’ or the moving parts of the larynx, known as the vocal cords and arytenoid cartilages. Air passing from the lungs through the larynx sets the vocal cords in motion. This creates vibrations or sound waves that travel through your throat, mouth and nose cavities creating a vocal sound unique to you. This is why people may recognize you on the phone without seeing you, by your unique voice quality.

  

In a healthy vocal system, the voice sounds clear, can reach a range of tones from high to low, can be heard easily by others with normal hearing, can be made louder or softer as you desire, without tiring easily when used everyday at work or home. Do you use your voice a lot, or loudly? Is your voice the ‘Tool of your Trade?’ Can you rely on your voice at key moments in conversations? A healthy voice is reliable and sounds clear.

You may notice that your voice changes when you are tired or unwell, overload your vocal system by speaking a lot and loudly. These are signs your voice may be under stress. You may also notice that your voice changes with your emotions, particularly when you feel strong emotion. Others may be aware of your mood even when you are not, just by the sound of your voice. Our ‘voice’ is linked to emotional centres in the brain.

How do I know if I have a voice problem?

If you say yes to one or more of the following questions, chances are you have a voice problem.

  • Does your voice tire easily?
  • Has your voice a rough, raspy, croaky, hoarse or breathy sound?
  • Is it difficult to make yourself heard?
  • Is it difficult to make your voice louder?
  • Does your voice feel weak, scratchy, itchy, tight, strained or sore?
  • Does it feel as though you have a lump in the throat?
  • Do you have a cough or throat clear habit?
  • Do you feel pain in the muscles around the voice box?
  • Have you lost your range?
  • Does your voice cut out sometimes?
  • Does your voice sound nasal as if you have a cleft palate?
  • Does it sound as though you are speaking through a blocked nose?
  • Have your voice problems last longer than 2 weeks or well after a cold or allergy has been treated?’
  • Does it feel like you have mucous in the throat?
  • Do you have a medical condition that can explain these symptoms?
  • Do you work and live in a noisy place or with very loud talkers?
  • Do you live with someone who has a hearing difficulty?
  • Have you noticed a connection between stressful or emotional life circumstances and changes in your voice?
  • Do you rely on your voice as the ‘Tool of your Trade?’
  • Is your voice the only way you can connect with friends, family and neighbours?
  • Have you been experiencing significant life events, changes or difficulties over the past few years?
  • Do people ask you if there is something wrong with your voice, or if you are sick?

What can I do about my voice difficulty?

If you have answered yes to more than one of the questions above, it may be necessary for you to see your GP who can refer you to an ENT Specialist.

An ENT can assess your voice difficulty, whether it affects everyday use face-to-face or on the phone with friends or family, conversations at work, singing for pleasure or professionally. If the voice is the ‘tool of your trade’, difficulties with voice can be devastating and exhausting. These are all indications that you may benefit from seeing an ENT and then a Speech Pathologist with specialist skills and experience in dealing with voice problems.

The ENT Specialist will view your larynx (voice box) with a camera that can look down your throat to the larynx below, and check for any medical or biomechanical issues that may be causing your voice difficulty.

If there is no physical or medical explanation for your voice changes or difficulties, voice therapy may be recommended to help you correct vocal style and voice use habits that may have lead to your voice difficulties. It is possible, there are underlying psycho-emotional factors that are contributing to your voice difficulty. Therapy will help you to understand what is causing your voice problem and how you can overcome it.

If surgery or some other medical intervention is required, your ENT will guide you as to the best timing of therapy for your voice. It is very useful to visit your Speech Pathologist before surgery to learn about gentle reintroduction of voice following surgery. Your surgeon will let you know the best time to start using your voice after surgery, your Speech Pathologist can show you how to use it to promote faster healing and avoid any possible damage to sensitive vocal folds following surgery.

Sharon Moore works closely with ENT, singing specialists, psychologists, physiotherapists and Alexander Technique practitioners, to ensure all aspects of the voice problem are addressed and to ensure all the right conditions for voice ‘healing’ are in place.

For more information about Voice go to:

Well Spoken offers Speech Pathology skills in the management of: Voice, Fluency, Articulation, Hearing Impairment, Early Language Delays ….and more

Well Spoken offers Orofacial Myofunctional expertise: re-programming muscles of the face mouth and throat, correction of oral habits, swallowing, chewing, breathing & speaking, tongue tie….and more.

About Well Spoken About Sharon Moore Make an appointment Contact

Sharon Moore Speech Pathologist has 30 years of clinical experience as a Speech Pathologist in Australia and overseas