Voice problems occur when vocal pitch, loudness, and/or quality are inadequate or inappropriate for communication. Often these problems are accompanied by pain or discomfort, vocal fatigue, vocal strain, or increased effort to produce voice, during or after speaking or singing. Causes and contributing factors include vocal abuse (e.g. yelling, speaking over noise or across a distance), misuse (e.g. using an excessively deep voice pitch), poor breath support patterns, dehydration, allergies, post-nasal drip, thyroid problems, stress, and laryngopharyngeal reflux (stomach acid backing up into the larynx). Signs of a voice problem can include hoarseness lasting more than two weeks, breathiness, frequent throat clearing, voice breaks, change in speaking pitch, loss of high singing range, and/or loss of vocal projection. Conditions relating to voice problems include swollen or thickened vocal folds (vocal cords), varices (swollen blood vessels), vocal fold hemorrhage, and lesions on the vocal folds such as nodules (“nodes”), polyps, cysts, or contact ulcers. Other conditions include paresis (weakness) or paralysis of the vocal folds, and functional dysphonia, i.e., the structure of the vocal folds is normal, but the muscles of the voice mechanism are being used with too much, or too little, force, resulting in voice problems.
At the Professional Voice Care Center, a licensed speech-voice pathologist evaluates your vocal function and designs an individualized program of vocal rehabilitation therapy, vocal hygiene and vocal abuse reduction to treat your voice problem. We can also help you adhere to an anti-reflux regimen of diet and lifestyle changes, if needed. Practice of effective techniques is reinforced through audio feedback, as well as computerized feedback. We create a customized home practice program and provide you with printed or CD-recorded therapy exercises. (You can even record the therapy exercises on your smart phone or tablet). Additionally, the speech pathologist works closely with your ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician on your personalized voice treatment plan.
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If you want more information about any of our services, either at our Center or via Skype, feel free to fill out the form below. A Voice Care Coordinator will get back to you as soon as possible.