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?

1) Visit www.bravespeechandvoicetherapy.com, call (630) 473-8315 or email jenny@bravespeechandvoicetherapy.com.

2) Ask your ENT for a referral

3) Google “voice therapy near me”



If you’re a teacher, a lecturer, in business, a personal trainer, a fitness instructor, or another professional that talks as much during the day as a cat sleeps vocal hygiene is essential.


What is vocal hygiene? It's hygiene for your voice. It’s caring for your voice so it continues to serve you. Vocal hygiene also helps you avoid a trip to the doctor (an otolaryngologist, or ENT) because it reduces your chances of damage to your vocal folds.


So replace that “apple a day” with…


1. Less throat clearing. Why? Every time you clear your throat you slam your vocal folds together. Imagine doing that with your arms – ouch… damage would ensue, right?


2. Fill ’er up… your water glass, that is. Drinking enough fluids throughout the day promotes something called systemic hydration (your entire body is hydrated, including your vocal folds). Aim for 8 eight-ounce glasses of hydrating fluids per day (or buy an extra large water bottle and fill it up as many times as needed throughout the day to reach 64 ounces). And yes, coffee does count toward your daily total (I heard that jubilant hoorah back there). Coffee is a diuretic, but only a mild diuretic, and the current consensus is that the body doesn’t lose as much fluid as you put in by drinking that liquid cup of caffeinated gold.


3. “Turn that thing down” isn’t just something that you heard growing up. It’s also important for voice health. Speaking over background noise (a loud TV, a noisy classroom, a loud meeting room, a fitness studio, etc.) causes you to speak louder than you need to. Remember what Number 1 said about slamming your vocal folds together? That happens when you yell, scream, or speak overly loudly… and can result in growths on your vocal folds that aren't supposed to be there and make your voice sound rough or scratchy.

4. Mics aren’t just for singers… Amplification systems can be used by anyone speaking to a room full of people. Many are affordable, easily purchased online or in many big-name stores, and are small and hands-free.


5. Keep clean air flowing into your lungs. This one's pretty simple. Don’t smoke, vape, or expose yourself to harmful chemical vapors.


6. Voice naps… are periods of vocal rest (not speaking unless necessary) throughout the day. They can be as short as 10-15 minutes.


These voice tips are so great that you have a hankering for more, you say? No problem! Contact Brave Speech and Voice Therapy via email: jenny@bravespeechandvoicetherapy.com or via phone (630) 473-8315.


Are you or someone you love having difficulty with your voice? Visit www.bravespeechandvoicetherapy.com or contact Brave directly at the email or phone number above.

What Do Ordering a Cup of Coffee, Confidently Conducting a Business Meeting, and Lecturing to College Students Have in Common?

They Can All Be Made Easier with Accent Reduction Services


What is the difference between accent reduction and accent modification?

Accent reduction and accent modification are synonymous terms. They mean the same thing, and you can use them interchangeably. However, accent reduction or accent modification do not mean that you will reduce your accent. You won’t lose your accent. Instead, you will be able to add an American English accent, which adds a valuable skill to your toolbox as a speaker and as an individual and employee. This means that you will be able to code switch, or effectively utilize your new American English accent in situations when you feel it will be most beneficial: at work, over the phone, ordering at a restaurant, or all the time if you so choose. You’ll also be able to utilize your original accent in situations when you feel it will be most comfortable, enjoyable, or beneficial to you: with family, friends, etc.



What does accent reduction training, or accent modification training, help me, my family member, or my friend with?

Accent reduction training, or accent modification training can help you or someone you know who has an accent reduce frustration and communicate more clearly and effectively. It can help you become more confident when communicating. It can improve overall quality of life. It can help you progress and “climb the ladder” at work, as unfortunately sometimes ineffective communication can be a barrier.

Accent reduction training can help you joyfully converse without worrying about if an accent is detracting from the message being communicated. Accent reduction training can help you easily order a cup of coffee without needing to repeat your order and experience less frustration when communicating over the phone. Accent reduction training can also help you feel more confident conducting a business meeting, lecturing to students, speaking to customers, or communicating with patients.



How well will I be able to learn and use my new American English accent?

The ability to “reduce your accent” (which remember, as discussed above technically is not what will occur as you will be learning a new accent) depends on your motivation and ability to practice. As with any new skill, the more you practice = the more you improve.



Who provides accent reduction training?

A number of individuals provide accent reduction training, also known as accent modification training. English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, linguists, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) or speech therapists all provide accent reduction services. Accent reduction training is also provided by indirect sources such as books, DVDs, and YouTube videos.

For some, books, DVDs and YouTube videos are helpful. These resources are fantastic because they are free or low-cost. For others, direct and individualized instruction that involves a tailored and specific program are necessary. This individualized instruction typically costs a bit more but can allow you to speed up results because the program is (or should be) tailored to you. *However, to attain any worthwhile results you need to practice. Similar to how going to piano lessons each week without practicing won’t allow you to sound like Beethoven or Chopin, going to accent reduction training without practicing won’t allow you to gain much ground on your American English accent.



So, I know myself or my friend or my family member is in need of accent reduction services. Where do I go from here?

1) Decide which type of services would be best

a. Have a lot of time? Books, DVDs and YouTube are great

b. Don’t have a lot of time? It’s best to seek out individualized instruction

2) If you decide on individualized instruction, decide what type of instruction would be best for you

a. Telepractice (sessions delivered over a web server)

b. In-person sessions



Do you need help on your path toward accent reduction? Have you been struggling trying to learn from YouTube videos? Has it been taking forever to learn via books and blogs?

We're here to help. Brave Speech and Voice Therapy, LLC delivers high quality, effective accent reduction training services via telepractice and via in-person sessions (either in the home or at the office if a private room is available at the workplace); Brave can help you. Brave’s ASHA-certified and state of IL licensed speech-language pathologist is certified in the Compton P-ESL (Pronouncing English as a Second Language) method and utilizes this method combined with her years of experience as a speech-language pathologist to help you achieve the results you are searching for.

Visit: https://www.bravespeechandvoicetherapy.com/accent-reduction-training

BRAVE SPEECH AND VOICE THERAPY

Bravely discover what your life can be

Contact Information​

  • Location: Based out of West Chicago, IL 60185

  • Telepractice (online / virtual) and in-home sessions in the western, northwest, and southwest Chicago suburbs

(West Chicago, Carol Stream, Bartlett, St. Charles, Arlington Heights, Algonquin, Huntley, Barrington, Batavia, West Dundee, Glendale Heights, Batavia, Bloomingdale, Winfield, Hampshire, Lake in the Hills, Elburn, Geneva, Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook, Oswego, Streamwood, Schaumburg, and more!)

 

  • Telephone: 630-473-8315

  • Hours by appointment

Based out of West Chicago, IL 60185

© 2020 by Brave Speech and Voice Therapy, PLLC