Voice is the sound produced by the larynx (voicebox in the throat), which allows us to ultimately produce speech sounds. Voice disorders are caused by physical or functional abnormalities of the larynx, which result in a husky or hoarse or breathy voice, e.g., vocal cord nodules, vocal cord polyps, paralyzed vocal cord, etc.
A voice assessment may indicate a voice disorder as mentioned above. An ENT consultation is usually recommended to determine if there is a medical/physical component to the voice disorder.
Ensure that your Speech Pathologist has previous experience treating voice disorders.The Voice assessment is completed by a Speech Pathologist, and involves the following components: Vocal Use, Respiration (breathing using abdomen or upper chest?), Control of Expiration (e.g., length of sustained sounds), Oromusculature Assessment (examination of muscles used to produce speech), Muscular tension, vocal volume, vocal quality (husky/hoarse/breathy?), resonance (nasal quality?), vocal pitch (is the voice pitch too high/low?).
Voice therapy may involve educating the client about their voice disorder, helping the client change any behaviours that may be causing the voice disorder (e.g., excessive shouting / using silly voices excessively), helping the client produce a good quality voice in clinic and then aim to produce this voice in familiar situations, vocal exercises, breathing exercises, or relaxation exercises.