Bethesda Hospital East

Voice Rehabilitation

 

What is a Voice Disorder?

Voice is judged as normal when the quality, pitch, loudness or flexibility are adequate for communication and suit a particular person.  Voice becomes a problem when quality, pitch, loudness or flexibility calls attention to itself, rather than to what the speaker is saying. It is also a problem if the speaker experiences pain or discomfort when speaking or singing.

 

What Causes Voice Disorders?

In addition to temporary misuse of the voice, some individuals develop habitual patterns that may have started with an acute condition, but are retained after the associated condition resolves itself.  Some examples are talking too loudly, using a pitch level that is too high or too low or improper breathing patterns.

 

Medical diagnoses which can lead to a voice disorder include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Stroke 
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease 
  • Allergies 
  • Normal aging 
  • Head and Neck Cancer

 

Swelling of the vocal folds after voice misuse can lead to small growths such as vocal nodules, nodes, polyps, or contact ulcers.  Smoking can be damaging to the voice and has been found to cause cancer of the larynx, or voice box.

 

How Can Voice Rehabilitation Help?

A professional speech-language pathologist performs the non-medical evaluation of a voice disorder and, when indicated, executes a plan to improve voice.  Following the evaluation, voice rehabilitation consists of several components:

  • Case history, including voice misuse and vocal abuse facts
  • Clinical examination 
  • Instrumental assessment, e.g., Visi-Pitch, Speech Viewer, Nasometer 
  • Clinical analysis and impression 
  • Plan of care specialized for the patient

 

The plan of care may include voice therapy techniques such as:

  • Vocal abuse reduction program
  • Relaxation training for head, neck and upper body 
  • Abdominal breathing and breath renewal 
  • Lubrication regime 
  • Timing, rate and rhythm change 
  • Pitch or intensity monitoring 
  • Vocal fold adduction exercises 
  • Voice quality modification 
  • Oral-nasal resonance balance 
  • Intonation and emphatic stress flexibility 
  • Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT) 
  • Vocal Strengthening

Voice therapy is effective for helping the patient with a voice problem and helping professional voice users, such as those engaged in public speaking or singing, in protecting and conserving voice for the future.

 

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment, call Central Scheduling at 561.374.5700.
For more information, call 561.292.4960.