Speech pathologists who specialise in voice care are often asked: ‘Just what IS voice therapy?’ While each client’s reasons for seeking therapy and the particular therapy that works may be different, there are a number of things you can expect when seeing a Speech Pathologist for the first time. Sessions can take place in person or via Skype (see pricing for more information).
- Information Gathering
The first step a Speech Pathologist will take is to gather as much relevant information about their client as possible. From when you first noticed you had issues with your voice, what makes it better or worse, to how your voice difficulty is effecting your ability to carry out daily tasks.
Informal Assessment: This process starts as you and your Speech Pathologist talk about your voice issues. With a well-trained ear, your Speech Pathologist may be able to conclude the likely issues you are having without much further clinical examination.
Formal Assessment: Your Speech Pathologist may ask you to perform a series of tasks such as reading a passage of text, singing up and down a scale, holding a ‘note’ for as long as you can, all while being recorded. This is so your voice quality can be later analysed using computer software and compared to your future voice post therapy (…and no, you do not have to be able to sing at all for this process).
If assessment deems your voice issue serious and/or continued and correctly practiced therapy is having little effect, then your Speech Pathologist may refer you on to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) surgeon. An ENT can perform an endoscopy whereby they feed a small camera through your nasal passage to look down at your larynx and see what your vocal cords look like.
- Voice Education
An essential aspect to voice therapy is to learn a little about how your voice is produced. With a basic understanding of what’s involved when we speak, many poor voice habits can be self-identified and monitored. Don’t worry, there’s no test at the end!
Precise therapy differs from client to client based on what issues you are having with your voice versus what techniques work well for you. Therapy will often aim to:
- Improve your breathing techniques.
- Promote a relaxed throat (larynx) and reduce laryngeal tension
- Provide daily warm-up exercises to improve your voice quality and reduce future vocal cord damage.
- Address any postural issues that may affect voice production.