How do you know if your voice isn’t quite the way it used to be? It may not spurt and sputter like your car engine, but there are signs of voice difficulty you should be aware of:
- Your voice becomes “rough,” hoarse, breathy, or harsh
- Your voice becomes “tired” or quieter by the end of the day or it requires more energy/effort to speak at the end of the day
- Speaking requires a lot of energy
- You lose your voice frequently (laryngitis)
- You have less of a vocal range (you can’t get to as high of a pitch as you used to be able to)
- Feeling like you need to clear your throat or cough often
- Pain in your throat
How do you know if you’re at risk for voice problems?
- You talk a lot throughout the day (you’re a teacher, lecturer, salesperson, coach, radio announcer, or fitness professional)
- You talk at a loud volume for a portion of your day
- You attended an event and spoke at a loud volume
What can you do about it?
- See an otolaryngologist, or an ENT. This physician will likely examine your voice via laryngoscopy (using a video camera to take an image of your throat and vocal folds)
- Speak with a speech-language pathologist
What can happen if you don’t get treatment?
Your voice can "break down" just like your car. You could be facing a vocal polyp (think of it like a noncancerous blister), or vocal nodule (think of it like a noncancerous callous). The problem can also worsen without treatment.
What will a speech-language pathologist, or SLP, do to help you?
You’ll learn strategies and behaviors to improve your voice problem and reduce the chance of it reoccurring. Essentially, you’ll improve the quality of your life by making it more comfortable and safer each time you speak. You’ll also sound better.
How do you find a speech-language pathologist?
2) Ask your ENT for a referral
3) Google “voice therapy near me”