Your voice is used to communicate with others, convey a mood or feeling, and give you a platform for speaking up on important topics, which is why it can be alarming if you are experiencing changes in your speech. There are many reasons why your voice can change, whether it’s from aging or other health-related issues. Voice therapy may help in these situations.
Voice therapy, also known as speech therapy, can improve your voice’s health, function, quality, and stamina.
“Changes in your voice can be from various minor causes, whether it’s from a viral infection, allergies, reflux, or straining, that can typically improve on their own within two weeks,” said Taylor Kae Hahn, speech-language pathologist at McLaren Greater Lansing. “But those who have more chronic disorders or continuous symptoms — such as pain or discomfort when speaking or swallowing, having a hoarse, weak, or breathy voice, or difficulties speaking over a long period of time — should get these conditions checked out to see if intervention is needed.”
A speech-language pathologist will evaluate you and create a program tailored specifically to the problems you are experiencing. Voice therapy may include exercises such as:
- Breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing
- Relaxation exercises
- Posture improvement
- Vocal warm-ups and mouth and jaw movement
Hahn notes that good hygiene practices can also help keep your voice functioning well.
“Having good oral care can prevent infections in the mouth, throat, and lungs, along with hydrating, avoiding smoking (or being around second-hand smoke), and resting your voice frequently; these are all good practices for keeping your vocal cords healthy,” said Hahn.
If you are experiencing voice problems, Hahn advises that you talk to your primary care provider and discuss the symptoms you are experiencing. Monitoring and documenting any changes will also help determine the best plan of care.
For a list of primary care providers who are accepting new patents, click here.
For more information on the Rehabilitation Center at McLaren Greater Lansing, click here.