The inability to use our voices effectively has the potential to have a major impact on personal relationships, careers, and the overall quality of our lives. Although many think that voice therapy is reserved for singers, actors, and broadcasters, in reality, virtually everyone can benefit from voice therapy to heal, manage, or prevent voice disorders at some point.
The Speech and Language Therapist is involved in the diagnosis, assessment, planning, and treatment of individuals with voice disorders. They are trained to evaluate voice use and vocal function to determine the causes of voice loss and the best treatments for improving and maintaining voice production.
Voice therapy is an approach used by the Speech and Language Therapist to help patients find relief from symptoms and achieve the best possible voice. Voice therapy consists of an assessment, followed by the implementation of two techniques: voice therapy and vocal hygiene.
The Speech and Language Therapist will assess the patient’s voice production and voice quality and structure the therapeutic program accordingly. Often, SLPs consult with ENT’s (ear Nose and Throat consultants), otolaryngologists and neurologists to ensure a proper diagnosis.
Vocal therapy involves changing the biomechanics of voice production. The goal of voice therapy is to improve vocal function and quality and implement exercises aimed at achieving vocal cord strength, endurance, and flexibility and the balance of respiration, phonation, and resonation.
Most voice therapy programs consist of 4-10 sessions over a period of 6-8 weeks, although the length of therapy ultimately depends on the diagnosis, compliance with the therapeutic program (Is the patient performing the required exercises at home and following vocal hygiene guidelines?), and the underlying causes and conditions.