Voice disorders can be caused by a range of factors such as how you use your voice, lifestyle factors, medical conditions and many more. In some cases, a hoarse voice can be a sign of cancer or another medical condition.
Voice therapy can help to improve your voice and throat difficulties by teaching you about your voice and how to look after it. We can help you learn how to use your voice and throat muscles correctly.
Access to the Speech and Language Service
If you have concerns regarding your voice you need to been by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor before being seen by a speech and language therapist. Your GP will be able to refer you.
Once we have received a referral you will be sent an opt-in letter to allow you to choose a preferred date and time of your appointment. We are able to offer face to face appointments at Walsall Manor Hospital, virtual or telephone appointments.
Care of your voice
(Based on Daniel Boon “Is Your Voice Telling on You”)
1) Listen to what your voice is telling you
When your throat starts feeling sore or begins to ache and you voice feels ‘tired’ or begins to change in quality—DON’T IGNORE IT. TAKE HEED
- In an emergency situation VOCAL REST is the best resort—even 24 hours will help.
When your voice goes or begins to start ‘breaking up’ in response to a severe throat infection—whether as an isolated symptom or as part of a heavy cold or flu—DON’T PUSH IT. Forcing your voice on infected, swollen vocal cords may cause long term strain and weakness, and may greatly prolong the good recovery of your voice.
2) Cut down on throat clearing, coughing (when possible) and shouting
- In all these activities the vocal cords, instead of touching gently as they do in normal voice are actually ‘banged’ together quite violently.
- This will not only cause irritation to the cords, but the irritated mucosal tissue of the vocal cords will then exude it’s own mucous and you will want to throat clear even more! The process becomes self-generating.
Where throat clearing is the cause, try:
- A good hard swallow—increasing the salivary flow to help swallow by gently squeezing teeth onto tongue, inner cheeks or lips.
- If that is not sufficient then make a gentle ‘uh hum’ noise with the cords and then try swallowing.
- Sometimes a ‘silent cough’ is suggested.
Where coughing is the cause then take what measures you can to relieve the cough.
- Make sure you don’t cough unnecessarily.
- Avoid talking in a noisy environment.
- Everyone experiences vocal strain when trying to talk against an extremely noisy background, wherever that is. Staff rooms can be a pretty noisy environment!
- Watch out for other settings where the background noise can be problematic, but less obvious, e.g. during a long car ride, talking against loud background music at home, against the television etc.
3) Try to reduce some of the demands on your voice. Don’t do all the talking!
Some voices are affected by overwork. To maintain a healthy, natural voice it is important to cut down on excessive talking. Being the life and soul of the party is great, but overdoing it can result in negative voice symptoms, such as hoarseness or weak voice.
4) Watch your fluids
Excessive dryness is hard on the voice.
- Excessive dryness in the atmosphere can irritate the membranes covering the vocal cords and cause swelling.
- Dust, pollutants and irritants can all further irritate already irritable or vulnerable vocal cords.
- Sipping water is a simple helpful remedy—and avoiding the extremes of liquid or food temperatures—as well as avoiding spicy foods.
- Increasing the liquid intake also helps to ‘liquefy’ the thick, tackiness of mucus and helps make it easier to dispose of through swallowing.
5) Avoid smoking and excessive amounts of alcohol
- These can cause the vocal cords to become inflamed and swollen, particularly if your throat is already vulnerable