When is voice therapy a good idea?
Voice therapy is suitable for most types of voice disorders (dysphonia). A voice disorder is a persistent change in someone’s voice. The voice is then often hoarse, but it might also be strained, husky or soundless. It is then weaker and less powerful too: For instance, someone with a voice disorder may not be able to hold a key for as long as they could before. Or they may no longer be able to sing very high or low notes, or speak in a very high or deep voice. Sometimes, a person’s voice may disappear altogether (aphonia).
What kind of voice disorders are there?
Voice disorders can be caused by a wide variety of things. They can be grouped into:
- Functional voice disorders: These can arise from speaking frequently and loudly. Some people use too much force or tension when speaking, without being aware of it. This might be because they are very stressed or have got into the habit of using an unfavorable breathing technique. Others may speak in a register that isn’t right for them.
- Organic voice disorders: These are caused by physical changes affecting the larynx. But physical changes such as vocal nodules may result from a functional voice disorder too. Paralysis of the vocal cords – which can occur after thyroid surgery, for instance – is another common organic voice disorder. Other causes include smoking, inflammations, stroke or laryngeal (larynx) cancer.
- Psychogenic voice disorders: Here the voice becomes hoarse, cracked, or completely silent after a distressing event, persistent stress, or as a result of a mental illness such as depression.