Voice Therapy & Vocal Hygiene

A staggering 17.9 million adults in the U.S. have reported problems with using their voice, according to the National Institutes of Health.

If you use your voice frequently, you may have vocal problems. Do you suffer from a strained voice and wonder, “how can I prevent my voice from feeling sore?”

Vocal hygiene is the key you’ve been searching for. Tips on how to take care of your voice will help you have the voice you need, when you need it most.

This post includes practical advice from experts to guide you on your way to great vocal health — and help you learn about what you can avoid. If you think you need voice therapy for vocal hygiene, contact us for a no-pressure, free introductory phone call.

What is vocal hygiene?

Vocal hygiene consists of the habits you perform in order to maintain a healthy, strong, and powerful voice. 

The word “hygiene” may conjure up images of hand-washing in your mind… no, we’re not talking about the same type of hygiene! Voice hygiene involves the practices you do, day in and day out, in order to ensure your voice performs at its best.

Just like warming up and stretching at the gym before you workout, your voice needs the right type of “stretches” in order to perform and function easily.

Why is vocal hygiene important?

It may be cliché, but everyone needs a voice! No matter your passion or profession, your voice is likely your greatest asset and most important tool.

Vocal hygiene is critical for not just singers, actors, or performers…everyone from teachers, salespeople, doctors, bankers, and stay-at-home moms all need their voice to fulfill daily tasks.

In order to keep your voice functioning properly, there are a number of things you can do to promote vocal hygiene. There’s also many habits, scenarios, and substances you can avoid in order to have the greatest vocal hygiene.

Good vocal hygiene is important because without taking care of your voice, you may be left without it. Vocal fatigue and soreness can have lasting, detrimental effects on your voice box, making it difficult for you to speak properly. 

How can I improve my voice hygiene? 

You may be wondering, “How can I take care of my voice?” Here are a few tips on how to maintain high-quality vocal hygiene:

  • Hydration is key: drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day in order to allow vocal folds to move properly, and flush out any mucous
  • Perform vocal warm-ups before exerting your voice: try sounding out different vowels, letters, short words, sounds, and moving your jaw slowly in order to warm up your voice
  • Use optimal posture when sitting or standing, and avoid slouching
  • Eliminating background noise or lowering music in the background — doing this ensures you aren’t straining your voice by overcompensating and using it loudly
  • Using a humidifier if you live in a colder climate with dry air during the winter
  • Trying chewing gum or lozenges to help lubricate your throat if you find it is dry
  • Gargling with water in order to loosen any mucus in your throat

What is bad for vocal hygiene?

Chemicals and irritants can cause serious damage to your lungs and vocal cords! In order to have great vocal hygiene, avoid the following:

  • Cigarettes and secondhand smoke
  • Car exhaust or other strong chemical fumes
  • Any environmental allergens that affect your breathing
  • Yelling or screaming, if you’re at a concert, sporting event, or similar activity
  • Whispering for an extended period of time
  • Overusing your voice, especially if you’re feeling sick or tired
  • Too much soda, coffee, or alcohol — the caffeine can dehydrate you, and these drinks act as diuretics which are not optimal for voice health because they make the vocal folds and dry. Alcohol especially irritates the mucous membranes in your throat, according to NIH
  • Certain foods, including spicy and fried foods, can lead to acid reflux or heartburn that will make it difficult for your voice to perform properly
  • Speaking too quickly or forcing your voice to strain when you tool many words out of your mouth — ensure you can complete full sentences in one breath

There are several types of medications that can affect the voice because they have a drying effect on your body, including the following:

  • Antihistamines (allergy medicine)
  • Anticholingergics (asthma medicine)
  • Antidepressants
  • Anabolic and inhaled steroids
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antihypertensives and diuretics (blood pressure medicine)
  • Decongestants, including over-the-counter and prescription cold medicine

Check with your doctor if you have any concerns about your health. Consider consulting with an ENT or laryngologist if you have specific questions regarding medication — they may be able to suggest alternative prescriptions or remedies.

How do you clean your vocal cords? How we promote vocal hygiene speech pathology at Great Speech

When we work with clients and develop treatment plans involving voice therapy for vocal hygiene, there are a number of techniques and “tried and true” strategies. 

Your expert therapist will work with you to find the right combination of tools in order to clean your vocal cords. Here are just a few:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing: taking deep belly breaths before speaking, and ensuring you breathe often when speaking. Your speech therapist may help you become aware that your breathing pattern is not supporting good vocal hygiene — don’t worry, we’re here to help!
  • Vocal warm-ups: actors and singers are known to warm up their vocal cords daily to promote great vocal health. Whether it’s “mmmmmm”, “yo yo yo”, “weeeeeeeee”, or other sounds, your speech-language pathologist is trained to help you prepare your voice for the long haul.
  • Examining the way you use your nose when breathing, ensuring that your vocal cords are not frequently dried out from mouth breathing

Over time, a trained speech-language pathologist will be your greatest asset to optimal vocal health. They’ll be the one to identify changes in voice quality, stamina, tone, pitch, and breathing.

Our team will create a customized treatment plan — with an unwavering commitment to achieving your vocal performance goals.

Experience the Great Speech difference by booking your free introductory call. It takes just a few minutes and may make a world of difference for you to find the speech-language pathologist you’ve needed for voice therapy.

Please note this content is strictly for informational purposes only, not medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please speak with your medical doctor regarding any medical concerns.

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a woman with sore vocal nodules

Frog in Your Throat? How Vocal Therapy Can Treat Vocal Nodules

Speech is one of the greatest abilities we’re given in life. It’s one of the most important and diverse forms of expression which draws people closer together and helps individuals stand up for themselves, too.

Not to mention, for singers and talk show hosts, their voice is how they make their money! If you’re among the talented group of people who can make a living off the way your voice sounds, you need to keep your vocal cords in great shape. Part of this means preventing vocal nodules and carefully treating them if they ever occur.

Here’s a closer look at this condition and how vocal therapy can benefit your cords.

What Are Vocal Nodules?

Vocal nodules are rough growths on the inside of your vocal cords. They typically appear in groups, with each growth ranging between the size of a pinhead and a pea.

These growths are non-cancerous, but they do affect how your voice sounds when you speak and sing. These can also cause strain in your throat, and the pain progresses if not treated.

Vocal nodules occur when the voice has been overworked. This can happen if you’re constantly using it to sing, speak loudly, or yell for a long period of time. They may sometimes appear if a person is a regular smoker or drinker, or if they have a medical condition like hyperthyroidism or sinusitis.

The Benefits of Vocal Therapy

Whatever it is that has caused your vocal nodules to appear, you have to figure out a form of treatment as soon as possible. The longer you let this progress, the harder it will be to make these growths go away. More nodules may appear and the ones you have will continue to grow until you begin treatment.

Before you jump into surgery, though, consider all the benefits vocal therapy can offer you. The 5 biggest benefits of vocal therapy for vocal nodules are listed below.

1. Enjoy a Non-Invasive Form of Treatment

Getting surgery is not exactly the easiest thing to go through. It’s a scary process that involves a lot of intricate medical details.

Not to mention, it may take some time to find the right surgeon who understands your unique needs and is readily available to perform the operation. This prolongs your treatment and creates a lot of unnecessary stress. Then, there’s also the recovery process to deal with which further sets you back from performing again.

2. Save Money and Time

Vocal therapy is readily available to you as soon as you decide to take this approach to treatment. It’s not as expensive as surgery and it’s provided via both online and in-person services.

Whichever approach you decide, you’ll be well on your way to treating your vocal nodules as opposed to schedule doctors appointments. This is the more cost-effective form of treatment and it gives you the most value for the time you’ll be investing in taking care of your voice.

3. Learn More About How Your Voice Works

Another benefit of vocal therapy is that it actually teaches you about how your voice works.

When you perform various vocal exercises and work with a specialist, you become much more aware of the things you do with your voice every single day. You start learning about how to take better care of your voice and to be smarter in the way you use it.

This improves your likelihood of preventing future vocal nodules. It’s an empowering form of treatment that not only makes your current vocal nodules go away but enhances the long-term health of your voice.

4. Discover At-Home Treatments You Can Do on Your Own

As you work with a vocal therapist, you’ll start to pick up on habits that you can do on your own time. The at-home exercises and natural treatment suggestions they give you eventually become a part of your day to day routine. Before you know it, your nodules will be gone and you’ll be able to care for your voice much better than before.

5. Improve Your Voice’s Strength and Power

With everything you learn from a vocal therapist, don’t be surprised if your voice’s strength and power improve. This is arguably the best benefit of all.

When you take the time to treat your vocal nodules naturally, you’re conditioning your voice to work better. This minimizes how much strain is put on it between your work and personal life. It makes it easier to use your voice when singing high notes and talking a lot throughout the day.

Before you know it, you’ll be hitting new notes and being able to perform better without working as hard as you used to. This will transform the way you enjoy what you do – and how well you do it.

Start Treating Your Vocal Nodules Today!

You can read about the benefits of vocal therapy all you want. But, it’s only when you start to put in the work that you’ll begin to notice the differences in your voice.

It’s worth learning more about how your vocal cords work and the best ways to take care of them whether you’ve already been diagnosed with vocal nodules or not. In fact, the smartest form of treatment against vocal nodules is prevention!

Start learning how to strengthen your voice today so you don’t have to worry about vocal nodules tomorrow. Click here to access all the vocal therapy you need to protect your beautiful, money-making voice.

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10 Symptoms of Vocal Cord Abuse

There are dozens of jobs that rely on your voice to be effective. They include teachers, instructors, trainers, singers, and public speakers. Overuse and abuse of your voice can put your job in jeopardy.

76 percent of those with vocal issues worry about the future of their careers.

Vocal cord abuse is a real condition that causes serious disorders. These conditions can change your life, especially when your job depends on your voice. It’s important to learn how to treat your voice well and prevent vocal cord abuse.

What does vocal cord abuse consist of? What are the symptoms? Keep reading for everything you need to know about this problem.

What is Vocal Cord Abuse?

There’s a difference between vocal cord abuse and misuse.

Vocal misuse is when you improperly use your voice. That includes yelling, speaking loudly, or speaking at an unnaturally low or high pitch.

Vocal abuse includes behaviors that injure the vocal folds. These include smoking, screaming, inhaling irritants, and excess coughing or throat clearing.

As you can see, there’s some overlap between misuse and abuse. Both have similar symptoms and can lead to a variety of vocal cord disorders.

People in careers that encourage misuse or abuse of their vocal cords are at higher risk of developing a problem.

Symptoms of Vocal Cord Abuse

It’s common for the symptoms of vocal cord abuse to go unnoticed.

Many of these symptoms are similar to having a cold or cough. Some come and go whereas others are more persistent. Here are the ten most common vocal cord abuse symptoms:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain in ears
  • Body and voice fatigue
  • Feeling a lump in your throat
  • Issues changing pitch
  • Loss of voice
  • Voice sounds breathy
  • Voice sounds hoarse
  • A constant need to cough
  • Development of vocal cord disorders

You may notice that some of these symptoms appear after a long day of vocal work. If you rest for a couple of days and the symptoms disappear, you’ve likely misused your vocal cords.

But, if the symptoms persist for days, weeks, or longer, you should see a throat specialist and doctor. Vocal cord abuse can lead to disorders that require more than rest to treat.

Disorders of Vocal Abuse

If you’re still experiencing hoarseness and other symptoms after two weeks, see your physician.

Your doctor will perform an exam on your throat. Ideally, they’ll refer you to an otolaryngologist who specializes in throat disorders. The specialist will assess your throat, vocal folds, and your voice.

Here are some of the vocal abuse disorders possible.

Vocal Cord Nodules

These are the most common side effects of vocal abuse. A nodule is a noncancerous growth that emerges on the vocal cords.

This disorder is especially common among singers. They often appear in pairs on either side of the folds where they experience the most pressure.

The symptoms of nodules include hoarseness, tightness, breathiness, and an involuntarily low pitch.

Vocal Cord Polyps

Another common vocal disorder is Reinke’s edema, also known as polyps. At first, polyps might be mistaken for nodules, but they’re quite different. Instead of appearing as a callous, a polyp looks like a blister.

This disorder will make you feel like you have blisters in your throat. The other symptoms are the same as those for nodules, which is why finding a diagnosis between the two can be tricky.

Polyps are commonly seen in the throats of long-term smokers and those with hyperthyroidism.


We often think of laryngitis as a viral or bacterial infection. After a course of medications, it goes away.

However, the abuse of the vocal cords can also cause laryngitis. The misuse causes the vocal folds to swell and rub against each other.

The symptoms of someone with laryngitis include a raspy, hoarse, and breathy voice.

Contact Ulcers

This disorder is less common than the other three mentioned above. Usually, contact ulcers develop when the vocal folds are aggressively pushed together. These people tend to use too much force when they speak, perhaps shouting or yelling often.

Like ulcers in other parts of the body, vocal contact ulcers appear like sores. They appear near the larynx cartilage and can be painful.

Besides pain while speaking, you may experience general body fatigue. Long bouts of talking can leave your neck and voice tired and strained.

How to Treat Vocal Abuse Disorders

The first step to healing your voice is getting an accurate diagnosis. Then, accurate treatment can follow.

For most of the disorders associated with vocal abuse, speech therapy is recommended. The specialists will work with your physician to find a treatment plan that works for you.

Then, the job of your speech therapist is to retrain your vocal cords.

The way you were using your vocal cords before wasn’t sustainable or healthy. You must learn about the functions of your voice and how to capitalize on your strengths.

The goal of your speech therapist is to get your voice to perform optimally again. Often, speech therapy is successful and patients go on to enjoy their vocal careers.

Are You Experiencing Symptoms of Vocal Cord Abuse?

If you read the symptoms above and noticed you suffer from one or many, you might have a vocal cord disorder. Or, you could be in the early stages of vocal cord abuse.

You must alter the bad habits your vocal cords have formed.

This could mean seeing a speech therapist before a disorder develops or booking a consultation to discuss your symptoms. The speech therapist may refer you to a medical professional for an official diagnosis.

Remember, you only get one voice. Save yours and book your free consultation today!

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What To Expect During An Oral Mechanism Exam?

In the United States, around 7.5 million people have difficulty using their voice. The issues seem to disproportionately affect children as well. Nearly one in twelve children struggle with a speech disorder.

The growing diagnosis rate of speech disorders in recent years has increased awareness of the issue. When we know exactly what causes speech problems, then we can begin specific therapy techniques for reducing the disorder.

We can thank these diagnosis rates for things like an oral mechanism exam. These types of exams help identify structural or functional issues in the mouth or skull that may be causing the speaking problems.

If you or your child need to take an oral mechanism exam, then you shouldn’t be nervous — the procedure is completely painless. Here’s what you can expect.

What Is an Oral Mechanism Exam?

An oral mechanism exam is a medical procedure that medical professionals use to assess the condition of an individual’s tongue, jaw, throat, top of mouth, teeth, and tonsils.

Typically the exam is used to test the mechanism of speech and how they relate to sound production.

Dentists, speech therapists, and otolaryngologists all use these types of mechanical tests to inspect both the structure and function of someone’s mouth. The procedure may be part of a larger head or neck examination.

The exam can reveal both major and subtle health conditions.

For example, a doctor may identify a large cleft palate or tiny abnormalities in bone structure. These types of exams help identify types of speech disorders. Anyone can have a disorder and they’re caused by a variety of factors.

Why Is an Oral Mechanism Exam Important for Speech Disorders?

If a medical professional knows what they’re looking for, then an oral mechanism exam can reveal a lot of the problems that affect speech.

For example, an OME may reveal motor abilities that help reveal apraxia of speech diagnosis. Similarly, hypernasality may occur when a cleft palate is enlarged.

If you don’t know what the problem is, then a speech therapist can spend years trying to fix the wrong problem with no success. A proper diagnosis of the problem gives you a definitive idea of what you need to work on.

If you suspect your child has a speech disorder, then it’s important to take them to get an oral mechanism exam.

A speech disorder can make it harder for your child to learn and socialize. If you can address the problem at a young age, then it will be much easier to correct the problem.

If you suspect that your child has a speech disorder, then you can learn more about diagnosing my following this link here.

What Can You Expect From the Exam?

The oral mechanism exam is a noninvasive procedure that causes very little discomfort. It should only take fifteen to twenty minutes to complete. As such, it’s regularly performed on children without a problem.

Generally, the exam is broken down into six parts. If you want an example of the oral mechanism exam form, then you can click this link here.

Face Evaluation

The doctor will inspect your face for signs of droopiness. They will also search for any abnormal movements and check your breathing.

Jaw and Teeth Evaluation

During this section, the doctor will ask you to open and close your mouth. They will look at your overall range of motion and search for any concerning deviations. They will also lookout for any strange noises like grinding or popping.

For the teeth, they will search for any jumbles or misaligned sections. They will note things like overbites, underbites and missing teeth. They will also inspect the general hygiene of the teeth.

Lip Evaluation

While evaluating the lips, most doctors will tell you to pucker, smile and puff up your cheeks with air.

During this time they will check for strength, symmetry and a full range of motion. When you puff up your cheeks the doctor will also check for nasal emission.

Tongue Evaluation

Most of the test is spent evaluating the tongue since it’s an important part of speech. During the tongue portion of the evaluation, you will need to stick your tongue in and out of your mouth and move it left to right.

When inspecting the tongue the medical professional will first check for a normal color. When you stick it out the doctor will look for any unnatural movement like jerking, twitching or writhing.

The doctor will also test your tongue strength by measuring your opposing pressure to a tongue stick.

Pharynx Evaluation

The pharynx part of the examination is relatively quick. The doctor will check the color of your pharynx and note the status of your tonsils: absent, enlarged or normal.

Soft and Hard Palate Evaluation

During this part of the evaluation, the doctor will evaluate and measure your soft and hard palate.

They will also observe them will you pronounce vowel sounds. They will look for normal color, structure, and symmetry. They will also observe your nasality, uvula, clefting and gag reflex.

If You Suffer From a Speech Disorder, Then Online Speech Therapy Can Help

An oral mechanism exam can help you discover the root cause of a speech disorder. But what do you do once you discover your speech disorder? One solution is online speech therapy.

At Great Speak Inc. we connect users with top speech therapists through video conferences. While we cater to many of our services toward children, we can also help adults with articulation and other issues.

Here are some of the specializations you can explore:

  • Articulation Program
  • Executive Function Training
  • Stuttering Intervention
  • The Language of Math
  • Literacy & Reading Fluency
  • Reading Comprehension Mastery
  • Pragmatics & Social Skills Groups
  • Self Regulation

All you need for online speech therapy is a laptop or computer with an external webcam and a quiet environment. Headphones are recommended, but you don’t need them.

If any of these programs sound like a good fit for you, then you can schedule a free consultation by visiting this link here.

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woman massaging her vocal nodules

Vocal Nodules: What They Are and How to Deal with Them

Approximately 7.6 percent of the U.S. adult population (17.9 million people) suffers from some kind of voice disorder.

There are many different voice disorders one can be diagnosed with, but vocal nodules are one of the most common.

If you suspect you have vocal nodules, keep reading to learn more about the condition and how to deal with it.

What are Vocal Nodules?

Your vocal folds are located inside your larynx, also known as your voice box. When you speak, air moves from the lungs through the vocal folds and into the mouth. The air causes these folds to vibrate and produce sound.

Nodules are benign growths that form on your vocal folds. Over time, if they’re not treated, these nodules can become larger and stiffer. They can also become harder, similar to the way a blister becomes a hard callous.

Vocal nodules go by many different names, including screamer’s nodule, vocal cord polyps, and vocal fold nodules.

Symptoms of Vocal Nodules

The symptoms of nodules are similar to the symptoms associated with many other voice disorders.

Some of the most common symptoms of this condition include:

  • A “rough,” “scratchy,” or hoarse voice
  • A “breathy” tone
  • Shooting pain that extends from ear to ear
  • Feeling as though you have a lump in your throat
  • Pain in the neck
  • Vocal and body fatigue

Many people also experience an increased ability to change pitch when they are speaking or singing.

Vocal Nodule Risk Factors

Anyone can develop nodules on their vocal folds. But, certain individuals are more prone to them than others.

Nodules affect people of all ages, but they seem to occur more frequently in adult females.

People who suffer from the following illnesses are also more likely to be diagnosed with nodules:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (also known as GERD)
  • Hypothyroidism and other thyroid disorders
  • Allergies

Nodules are also common among people who have to use their voice a lot as part of their occupation.

For example, teachers are often diagnosed, as are singers, sports coaches, cheerleaders, and those who work in the media. People who inhale irritants like industrial chemical fumes on a regular basis also face an increased risk.

This condition is also associated with unhealthy behaviors like long-term smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and excessive caffeine intake.

If you do have one or more of these risk factors, that’s not an automatic guarantee that you will be diagnosed with vocal nodules. But, you made need to take extra steps — such as avoiding unhealthy behaviors like smoking — to prevent nodules from forming on your vocal folds.

Preventing Vocal Nodules

The most important thing you can do to prevent nodules from forming on your vocal folds is to avoid unhealthy behaviors (smoking, alcohol consumption, etc.) that can contribute to them.

It’s also important to manage health conditions that are associated with an increased risk of developing nodules. Some specific ways you can manage these conditions include:

  • Taking medications and making lifestyle changes to manage GERD
  • Treating thyroid disorders with medication and lifestyle changes
  • Taking allergy medication regularly and avoiding allergens as much as possible

Reducing stress is also important for keeping nodules at bay. You may also want to try and control the volume of your voice as much as possible. Avoid talking too loudly or shouting unnecessarily.

When Should You Visit Your Doctor?

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of vocal nodules for more than 2-3 weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

If they think you have nodules on your vocal folds, they may recommend you visit an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) or speech-language pathologist (also known as a speech therapist) to get to the bottom of your issues.

When you visit a doctor or speech-language pathologist, they’ll listen to the way your voice sounds and ask you to change your pitch and volume. They’ll also likely listen to see how long you can keep talking before you lose your voice.

Your doctor may also look at your throat to watch the way your vocal folds move. They’ll do this by putting an endoscope in the mouth along with a flashing light, or stroboscope.

This will help them determine whether or not there are nodules present on their vocal folds.

How to Treat Vocal Nodules

If your doctor diagnoses you with nodules, they’ll likely look for the root cause of the condition.

If they believe that another medical condition caused the nodules to develop, they’ll likely recommend medication or other treatments to help you better manage your symptoms and allow your nodules to heal.

Your doctor will also likely recommend reducing stress and giving up behaviors like smoking or excessive alcohol consumption that tend to cause or make nodules worse.

Your doctor may also suggest that you work with a speech-language pathologist. They can help you improve the way you speak and teach you strategies that will stop you from causing additional damage to your vocal folds.

When is Surgery Required?

If your nodules are very large or have been present for a long time, you may need to have surgery to have them removed.

During this procedure, a surgeon will use fine surgical instruments or tools like lasers to carefully remove the nodules. Once the surgery is complete, you’ll need to rest your voice as much as possible and spend a few months using it only in a limited capacity.

After the surgery, you’ll likely need to work with a speech-language pathologist to learn how to avoid abusing your voice and help you recover properly from the surgery.

If you don’t prioritize recovery after your surgery, you may end up dealing with permanent voice changes.

Do You Need a Speech Therapist?

Are you interested in working with a speech therapist to treat your vocal nodules or recover properly from your surgery? Do you want to work with a professional without having to leave your house?

If so, you might want to consider online speech therapy.

Contact us at Great Speech today to schedule a free consultation and find out whether or not our services are right for you.

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Client-Centered Therapy: The 7 Benefits It Holds for Speech Therapy

Did you know, approximately 40 million people in the U.S have communication disorders?

This then begs the question; what’s client-centered therapy? And how can it help speech difficulties?

Luckily for you, we’re going to break that down for you here in this article. Let’s dive in!

Client-Centered Therapy

This is a non-directive form of treatment developed by humanist psychologist Carl Rogers.

This treatment encourages clients to talk freely. The therapist doesn’t seek to interpret the patient or offer an explanation.

Rogers emphasized the importance of the individual seeking help. This usually results in them feeling more in control of their destiny. As such, patients are more likely to believe they can overcome the struggles facing them.

This treatment promotes patient empowerment and allows clients to lead discussions. Fundamental to the therapy is the belief that every person has the resources to help themselves, if:

  • They’re given the right conditions
  • Allowed to grow to their full potential

Sounds good, doesn’t it? So, how can Client-centered therapy benefit speech therapy?

1. Unconditional Positive Regard

Client-centered therapy focuses on the client’s current capabilities and situations. The treatment should be wholly non-judgemental and acceptant of the client’s current abilities, no matter what they say or do.

The therapist is to see their clients as individuals, not as a set of behaviors. As such, their progress is accepted at all stages of treatment.

Thus, this method reduces the pressure on speech therapy clients, as they don’t feel as though they have to “perform.”

2. Healthy Development

Client-centered therapy provides a space for clients to develop at their own pace, without fear of judgment.

When the client feels comfortable, they’re not as worried to practice speaking. As such, they’re usually more willing to explore methods that could help them.

By allowing clients to explore and lead their own treatment, the therapist helps to cultivate their self-esteem. This, in turn, enables clients to feel more confident in speaking.

3. Individualised Therapy Plan

Unlike other treatments, client-centered therapy is tailored to the client’s individual circumstances. As this therapy is based on the client’s personal goals, this means the therapy experience will be different for each client.

This method accepts the unique difficulties and situations facing the patient. So, they’re encouraged to focus on their current subjective circumstances.

This differs from most other therapies that usually focus on the therapist’s interpretation of the case.

4. Patient Empowerment

Client-centered therapy assists clients in taking charge of their treatment, and realize their own potential. Clients are encouraged to lead sessions alongside therapists, rather than be steered in a direction.

This means that people are not ‘put-in-a-box,’ and can work to their own strengths and weaknesses. They are also encouraged to realize they’re more than their perceived problem or behavior.

The patients are encouraged throughout treatment to self-assess and to stay positive in their ability to fulfill their potential.

Unlike other therapies, client-centered methods communicate to the patient that they’re responsible for their own life. It’s not down to the therapist to wave a magic wand for improvements to happen. Instead, it’s up to the patient.

Therefore, a crucial part of this is the therapist’s recognition that the client is the expert of their own experience, and by forming a cooperative relationship, they can work together to create a new understanding on the client’s skills.

5. Collaborative Communication

If speech is a problem, practicing communication is obviously vital; client-centered therapy allows a format of discussion that encourages the improvement and reflection of speech. The therapist allows the client time to think for themselves, which in itself promotes progress.

Strategies in treatment often involve open-ended questions, providing affirmations to help reinforce positivity, and offering reflections on the treatment, so that clients can self-assess and identify their goals.

6. Practical Speech Strategies

Some strategies can be used for speech therapy clients in client-centered therapy, and these include speech intelligibility, practicing words, lists, sentences and paragraphs, and practicing conversations.

As the pressure of “right” and “wrong” is removed from treatment, the client feels at ease to practice speaking and various strategies. They don’t have to worry about going wrong or not making improvements as this isn’t what the therapy focuses on.

The therapy provides a safe space to explore methods of speech and to feel comfortable at the level of speech they’re at.

7. Self-Compassion

Client-centered therapy wants to encourage people to be happy with who they are right now. The treatment isn’t about changing someone, but more about helping the patient to accept themselves.

They need to realize what they’re capable of, regardless of circumstances or personal difficulties.

The treatment aims to help clients feel a higher level of self-worth and compassion for themselves. This encourages the patient to take charge of any improvements they want to make along the way.

Goodbye Judgment, Hello Self-Acceptance!

If someone needs to go to speech therapy, chances are they feel a lack of confidence in how they speak. They’re probably concentrating on what they do wrong, and how they’re different to everyone else.

Whereas, client-centered therapy is a method of treatment that allows people to believe in the potential they have. The therapy encourages clients to feel in control over their situation.

Thus, they’re more likely to assert their ability and improve their skills.

This therapy allows for a safe, non-judgemental and reassuring space for clients to work through their issues. The key is that they’re permitted to work at their own pace, and towards their own goals.

Client-centered therapy wants clients to say: Goodbye judgment, hello self-acceptance!

If after reading this you want to know more about client-centered speech therapy, check out Great Speech for further details.

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Do You Have Difficulty Talking? Here’s How Voice Therapy Can Help

Your voice gives you power. The stronger your voice is and the more you believe in it, the more others will believe in it (and you) too.

But, believing in your voice is hard if you have a developmental disability or other assorted speech problems. Instead of trusting your voice to express things for you, you get nervous that you’ll be made fun of.

We understand that, maybe better than anyone. That’s why all our services and therapists work tirelessly with clients.

Want to learn how voice therapy can help you have less difficulty talking? Read our what-to-expect guide below.

What is Voice Therapy?

Your vocal cords are a muscle, like any other muscle in your body. Every time you speak you’re training them to perform a certain way. But some of us are training them incorrectly, though we don’t mean to.

Voice therapy aims to retrain our vocal cords to perform better, in the way they should. Unlike speech pathology, it doesn’t focus on certain sounds or words.

You can think of it as personal training, but for the inside of your throat.

What Does the Process Look Like?

When assessing your need for vocal therapy, a doctor or therapist will perform an evaluation. They’ll listen to you speak and may record your voice with specific devices. These will listen for the aerodynamic instrumentation and acoustic properties of your voice.

After the evaluation, the therapist may ask you to complete or take home a set of vocal exercises. These are like pre-homework.

If you take them seriously and your therapist hears an improvement next time you see them, it’ll inform your future voice therapy plan.

The Therapy

Your budget, your schedule, and your specific needs will decide how often you see your therapist. Most people complete a session every week for four to eight weeks.

But arrangements can be made to fit each patient’s needs.

At your therapy appointments, your therapist will perform tests to see how your progress is going. They’ll listen to your practice exercises and yes, they can tell if you’re not doing your homework.

They may set you up to test on different machines each time or make sure that each lesson looks the same. It’s all about the patient. For example, an autistic child may not do well with ever-changing appointment schedules.

But a singer who’s working on getting over trauma from a throat surgery may not require that kind of sensitivity.

Finishing Your Sessions

Like anything in life, there isn’t one moment where you’ve “fixed” the problem and don’t ever need to worry about it again. Voice therapy is a continuous process and sometimes issues return after a period of time.

Once you’ve finished your initial therapy plan, your clinic may ask to see you back in six months or a year. If issues return, they’ll address where to go from there, then.

To ensure you get the best results, it’s advisable to do your vocal exercises every so often, even when you’re done with your sessions.

You don’t quit doing squats forever because you’re not working with a personal trainer anymore, right? It’s the same idea.

Who Should Use Voice Therapy?

Voice therapy means something different to each patient, though we do have common client types.

Some parents bring their children in for voice therapy as a supplement to speech lessons. Other times there was an injury and the person needs a voice therapist’s help recovering and returning to their normal way of life (voice).

Singers and vocalists often work with voice therapists if they’re encountering a change in the sound of their voice or have developed health issues. Vocal nodules are some of the most common issues we treat.

It’s also common to use vocal therapy as part of a recovery plan after surgery for vocal polyps or cysts.

What are the Goals of Voice Therapy?

In essence, the goals of voice therapy are to reduce any difficulty talking. We’re here to help people regain their voice and their confidence.

That said, the main goals of our services are:

  • To help find a better voice quality
  • To reduce fatigue and strengthen vocal muscles
  • To treat a chronic cough or hoarseness
  • To reduce pain
  • To make speaking/singing easier for all clients

So, to return the point above, anyone who wants to accomplish any of these goals can benefit from voice therapy.

What to Look for in a Vocal Therapist

Finally, the quality of the therapy you get is only as good as the quality of the therapist who gives it. You need to make sure the therapist you’re working with has a relevant educational background as well as hands-on experience.

Look for them to have certifications from accredited organizations, like the American Speech and Language Hearing Association. You can find this out on the clinic’s about us or staff page, and by reading online clinic reviews.

Treating Difficulty Talking

If all this sounds like the right treatment plan for you, we’ll be happy to work with you. Our therapists are all well-educated and hold the proper accreditations.

Your difficulty talking doesn’t have to define you or continue to hurt your confidence. With help from us, hard work, and a therapy plan, we can make your voice better than it ever was before.

And, even better, all of our services are online so they fit into your budget and schedule better. You won’t have to take off work or school and commute, you can improve in the comfort of your own home!

Want to learn more? Click here to get started with our voice therapy services.

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Vocal Cord Nodules: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Vocal Cord Nodules: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Feeling a scratch in your throat? Sounding a little hoarse lately? While a mildly sore throat seems minor, the cause could be more severe than you think.

Vocal cord nodules are small growths on your vocal cords. Your vocal cords are located inside of your voice box, also known as your larynx.

In addition to changing the way your voice sounds, nodules could also cause a number of speech issues.

Vocal nodules most commonly develop in women and children. Nodules are also one of the most common causes of hoarseness for children.

If you’re worried that sore throat indicates you’ve developed vocal cord nodules, don’t stress. Instead, it helps to stay informed. Here’s everything you need to know about vocal cord nodules. 

What Are Vocal Nodules?

Vocal nodules are noncancerous growths that build against your vocal cords. Hard and rough, they’re generally between the size of a pinhead or pea. 

Vocal cord nodules are also known as:

  • Teacher’s nodules
  • Screamer’s nodules
  • Singing nodules

You often develop nodules from straining or overusing your voice. However, there are a few other causes.

What Causes Vocal Cord Nodules?

Also known as your vocal folds, vocal cords are the v-shaped group of tissues that travel the center of your voice box.

When you talk, your vocal cords vibrate open as air rises from your lungs.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to use your voice incorrectly, which can irritate your vocal folds. As the irritation builds up, the area hardens, leaving little callouses. If you don’t rest, those callouses will only grow.

You can develop vocal cord nodules from:

  • Singing
  • Yelling
  • Talking loudly over time

When your vocal cords aren’t able to vibrate normally, it causes the sound of your voice to change.

Vocal nodules often affect people who talk, shout, or sing often, including:

  • Teachers
  • Preachers
  • Salespeople
  • Radio hosts
  • Coaches
  • Singers
  • Cheerleaders

If you recent screamed your lungs off at a concert, you might also develop these nodules. 

However, overusing your voice isn’t the only way you can develop vocal cord nodules. You might also develop nodules if you smoke or drink regularly. Other causes include sinusitis, allergies, and hypothyroidism. 

In some cases, drinking too much caffeine can cause problems, too. That’s right; your morning cup of coffee could be the culprit. Caffeine dries out the vocal folds, which could cause the nodules to form. 

As a side effect, certain medications can also cause you to develop vocal cord nodules.

Signs of Vocal Nodules

One of the most noticeable signs you’ve developed vocal cord nodules is a change in the tone of your voice. In some cases, your voice will:

  • Sound hoarse, raspy, or scratchy
  • Creak or break
  • Sound breathy or tired
  • Shift pitches

If you’re a singer, you might also experience a limited singing range. In addition to reducing your range, you might also lose your voice entirely.

Another indication you’ve developed vocal cord nodules is pain. In addition to feeling a lump in your throat, you might also experience neck pain or a shooting pain ear to ear. 

Other indicators of vocal nodules include coughing, constant throat-clearing, and tiredness.

What to Expect During a Doctor’s Visit

If you experience these symptoms for over two weeks, consider visiting an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor. An ENT doctor is also known as an otolaryngologist. However, you might also consider seeing an allergist if you believe allergies are the root of your problems.

During your visit, the ENT doctor will:

  • Ask if you’ve been screaming, singing, or straining your voice lately
  • Examine your neck, back of your throat, and head
  • Examine your vocal cords

The ENT doctor might also ask you to talk at different pitches.

This will make it easier for them to study your vocal folds at work. 

During the examination, the ENT will likely use a lighted scope. They’ll use a long tube, called an endoscope, and a flashing light, called a stroboscope, to study your nodules.

By placing this scope through your nose or mouth, the ENT can further examine your larynx. During the examination, they’ll look for nodules against your vocal cords.

The nodules will look like rough patches against your throat. 

In some cases, the doctor will record your vocal folds. They might also require a small tissue sample to make sure the growth isn’t cancerous.

Treatment Options

The first step to vocal cord nodule treatment is easy: rest.

That means you’ll need to give your voice a break. During this time, you’ll need to stop yelling, singing, and whispering. Giving your voice a break will also give your nodules a chance to heal.

Your ENT doctor will determine how long you need to rest depending on the damage.

Another option for treatment is voice therapy.

A speech-language pathologist will teach you how to use your voice in a safe matter. That way, you can avoid developing voice nodules in the future.

The pathologist will teach you vocal hygiene, or how to properly care for your voice. In addition to teaching you how you’re harming your vocal cords, they’ll also show you how to relax, lower stress, and get enough breath when you talk. Their teaches can also help if you have a voice disorder.

Your nodules might have an underlying cause. If this is the case, you should also seek treatment for acid reflux or allergies. If you have hypothyroidism or sinusitis, consider getting treatment for your condition. 

Surgery for vocal fold nodules is rare. In fact, it occurs in fewer than 5 percent of cases. However, you will require surgery if your nodules appear large or don’t heal after a few weeks. 

Vocal Cord Nodules: Causes and Care

The next time you attend a concert, reconsider screaming along to your favorite songs. If you’re not careful, overusing your voice can cause vocal cord nodules to form. These nodules can, in time, cause a number of speech issues in the future. 

Want to develop great speech? Contact us today to schedule an introductory call with our team.


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