Voice Difficulties

Voice difficulties can be caused by a number of conditions. Voice difficulties normally manifest audible symptoms such as high vocal pitch, hoarse or breathy voice quality, intermittent or inconsistent phonation or vocal production, to name but a few.

These symptoms may be caused by , but not limited to, the following:

  • Swelling of the vocal cords, such as often happens after head and neck surgery and upper respiratory illnesses.
  • Benign or malignant growths on the vocal cords due to nodules, polyps and/or other tumor-like lesions
  • Paralysis of one and/or both vocal cords due to neurological fall-out such as Stroke, Head Injury, Guilian Barre Syndrome,etc
  • Puberty such as what male patients often go through at a certain age

Symptoms of Voice difficulties:

  • Stridor
  • Throat Clearing
  • Coughing
  • Breathiness
  • Hoarseness
  • Aphonia (no voice production)
  • Roughness
  • Tremor
  • Strained voice quality
  • Monotone
  • Fluctuating pitch breaks
  • Nasal Speech Quality
  • Inappropriate breathing patterns

The speech therapist’s role in Voice:

The role of the Speech Therapist in voice difficulties is:

  • to assess the patient to determine the symptoms and causes of symptoms which will include an interview with the patient and contact with the patient’s ENT should the patient have been referred from a specialist
  • refer to an ENT where necessary. This normally happens in cases where a patient has been presenting with vocal difficulties and has not yet been assessed by an ENT. The ENT will do an internal assessment via scope to assess the status of the vocal tissue.
  • Provide the patient with a vocal hygiene program for vocal protection and sustained vocal production
  • Provide voice therapy where it is indicated

Assist the patient with the necessary changes to their environment to assist with vocal protection and optimal use.