The voice is an integral tool for communication, both in a person’s everyday life, and in several professions. However, it is very easy to cause damage to this instrument if you overuse it, or neglect caring for it. For actors, singers, speakers, and educators, it’s important to stay aware and attentive; diagnosing problems early on will make them that much easier to remedy. If your voice has become hoarse or raspy, if you’re a vocalist and you’ve lost your ability to reach certain notes, if it’s suddenly deeper than usual, or if your throat feels chronically strained – it might be time to consult an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist or laryngologist.
Laryngologists are doctors that specialize in disorders and diseases of the larynx – or voice box. They’ll be able to conduct a physical examination to determine whether any serious conditions are arising. When the pitch, loudness, or quality of a voice are abnormal – it might be signalling an injury or poorly functioning larynx, vocal tract, respiratory system, or a combination of these parts. Treatment for voice disorders varies depending on the cause; the good news is taking heed of doctor’s orders and seeing a speech language pathologist regularly will help you regain control of your voice.
When should you see a professional? While some vocal difficulties arise from habit, there may be less obvious underlying causes. Sometimes cysts, allergies, hormonal imbalances, or mental stress play a role as well; battling alone with hot water, honey and lemon may not always be enough in these cases.
Thankfully, there is coaching available for those who need it. Speech language pathologists like those employed at Simone Friedman SLS in Toronto’s West End, will help you to address vocal issues stemming from common misuse to those experiencing more serious degenerative diseases. Therapists will be able to teach clients how to protect their voice and prevent against further damage; suggesting vocal exercises to add into their daily routines and making them more familiar with the anatomy of their vocal tracts.
Furthermore, speech therapy can do more than treat an illness. It’s been known to help transgender individuals or those who are transitioning; working with them and their voices to find the quality and tone that best suits their identity. It’s also helped children develop better speaking habits; catching any potential issues or straining before they cause damage.
Because treatment is specific to each person; an individual assessment is highly recommended so a plan can be put into action to deliver upon the client’s needs. Depending on the type of voice disorder or service requested, a Speech Language Pathologist can suggest vocal hygiene, provide respiration training, work with clients on vital capacity, articulation, and offer counselling should they choose to undergo surgery.
Your voice is often the primary tool you use to express yourself, explain yourself, and communicate ideas. Additionally, healthy vocals are essential for many people if they’re to continue thriving in their chosen field of work. If you notice pain, discomfort, or an unusual quality when speaking – consider seeking out a professional to learn how you can take back your voice and prevent issues from developing in the future.