Voice Disorders

What is a voice disorder?

Voice disorders can develop at any age and may be characterized by hoarseness, breathiness, strained and/or unpredictable voice quality. There may or may not be associated sensation of pain, strain or tension in the throat or neck muscles.

Common causes of voice disorders include vocal abuse (e.g. yelling, screaming, excessive throat clearing), overuse of the voice, or vocal misuse (e.g. prolonged speaking at an elevated pitch level).

The voice can be lost temporarily due to overuse, laryngitis, or viral infection. If symptoms persist for an extended period they will likely not resolve on their own and may even worsen over time.

Do I have a voice disorder?

  • Does your voice sound hoarse or raspy on a regular basis?

  • Does your voice sound deeper/lower than it used to be?

  • Does your throat feel tight, raw, or sore?

  • Does speaking require more effort?

  • Do you clear your throat frequently?

  • Have you experienced reduced pitch range (e.g. more difficulty reaching high notes)?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, consult an Otolaryngologist or Ear Nose and Throat doctor (ENT) who can determine the underlying cause of the voice disorder. The Speech-Language Pathologist can provide education on healthy voice use, teaching effective voicing techniques in order to eliminate the voice problem, prevent future occurrence, and in many cases can provide treatment to avoid surgical intervention that may have otherwise been necessary.

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