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

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.

How Vocal Therapy Can Treat 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.

 

 

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

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.