A voice disorder refers to an abnormal voice quality, as a result of: neurological, physiological, psychological or organic change (e.g. vocal nodules). Professional voice users such as teachers and singers are high risk for voice disorders.

Common issues or signs that may occur include:

  • Hoarseness
  • Aphonia (no voice)
  • Pitch breaks, changes or very highly pitched voice
  • Strain
  • Changes in volume or vocal quality
  • Observable anatomical changes, e.g. muscle weakness or growths
  • Breathy voice
  • Reduced vocal range
  • Tremor
  • Pain or other similar sensations
  • Physiological changes during the production of voice,
    e.g. air flow, reduced muscle tension

What to expect at an assessment:

The speech pathologist will investigate the following:

  • Case History, including: social, lifestyle, medical and family
  • Ability to manipulate vocal features- i.e. pitch, volume, resonance and respiration
  • Perceptual evaluation of vocal quality
  • Oral muscular structure

The speech pathologist will also address any appropriate referrals where further investigation is required. It is referred if clients have consulted with an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist prior to attending their speech pathology assessment.

Voice Therapy/ Management

There are three main approaches used in the management of voice disorders. These include: surgical, medical and behavioural. In order to ensure the correct approach or combination of approaches are chosen, the cause of the voice disorder must be established.

Therapy techniques and options are selected based on the signs and symptoms present.

Therapy can target:

  • Addressing the cause of the disorder
    e.g. relaxation techniques
  • Addressing changes in anatomical structure
    e.g. reducing tension in the vocal folds
  • Educating clients on vocal hygiene
    e.g. lifestyle changes to help achieve a healthy voice
  • Making appropriate referrals to ensure a multidisciplinary approach is taken to therapy

Other Services