A good voice comes from two major components: healthy vocal folds and healthy voice use. It is very common for a singer or professional voice user to have vocal complaints but have normal appearing vocal folds. In these instances, it is often the technique, or usage, of the voice that is the problem. Voice therapy is geared towards this part of the problem.
At Osborne Head and Neck Institute’s Division of Voice and Laryngology, healthy voice is emphasized. This means having detailed analysis with distal chip laryngoscopy and stroboscopy as well as complex voice analysis and voice therapy.
Voice therapy is the practice of treating the voice non-surgically by emphasizing healthy voice use. It is a highly effective method to reduce the need for surgery. Therapy is also a critical component in optimizing surgical outcome by minimizing vocal strain.
Voice therapy uses highly individualized exercises and techniques to:
Optimize the voice
Assist in pre-operative and post-operative voice use
Eliminate harmful vocal use
Strengthen and coordinate the vocal folds
Educate about healthy voice use
Adjust behaviors or lifestyles that caused the voice injury
Voice therapy is a critical component of all voice disorder treatment. Even a common voice symptom, such as throat pain, may be effectively addressed using therapy. Commonly, vocal nodules can be completely eliminated with voice therapy alone.
In more complex cases, such as the diagnosis of a vocal polyp or cyst, voice therapy may be insufficient. In these situations, vocal surgery may be necessary; however, surgery should never be the only treatment. Concurrent voice therapy is critical to ensure an optimal outcome.
Voice therapy is a highly-specialized form of general speech therapy, and is performed by a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist (SLP). Speech pathologists undergo specialized training to become voice therapists, ensuring they are skilled in helping the injured voice.
Vocal coaching and voice teaching may be beneficial in addition to voice therapy.
Specialized voice therapy is available for:
Training for proper vocal hygiene
Therapy for pre-operative patients, to improve surgical outcomes
Therapy for post-operative patients, to optimize wound healing
Breathing and breath control for projection
Optimal pitch training
Transgendered voice (male to female or female to male)
Therapy for high-endurance voice (concert or tour performers)
If you have any questions as to whether or not you could benefit from voice therapy, please contact the Osborne Head and Neck Institute for a voice consultation.