Keep Your Voice Healthy and Strong

| Dr. Eva Norman

Keep your voice healthy & strongMay is Better Speech and Hearing month! Live Your Life Physical Therapy would like to welcome our guest blogger, Lynne Conley, Speech Language Pathologist, to give us some excellent tips to keep our voices healthy and strong.

The American Speech Hearing and Language Association (ASHA) credentials and supports the practice of Speech-Language Pathologists (Speech Therapists or SLPs) and Audiologists (hearing specialists).

These specialists in communication disorders promote the prevention of hearing loss, voice problems, and other communication problems. Speech Therapists also work with people who have difficulty with swallowing (dysphagia).

Communication problems are treatable. However, the longer they are overlooked or ignored, the harder they may be to manage. Early detection and treatment of speech, language, and hearing disorders contributes to better quality of life, shorter treatment periods with better results and reduced healthcare costs.

ASHA has developed the “Communication for Life” educational program in an effort to raise awareness about communication disorders which span all ages. To find out more about Communication Disorders, check out

Voice Therapy

SLPs sometimes specialize in the area of voice disorders. Short term therapy now, may head off more persistent problems with your voice in the future. Your voice is used day to day in a wide variety of ways. Examples of a few ways we use our voices that might put us at risk for voice problems now or in the future:

  • Singing in a choir 3 days a week without a vocal warm up or cool down?
  • Yelling for your kids, who are playing across the street at the playground every afternoon, to come home for supper, even when you have laryngitis?
  • Working in a place everyday where you have to speak over loud background noise?
  • Teaching in a classroom 8 hours a day without a break from talking?
  • Singing or acting on a stage each night without enough rest?
  • Speaking to groups of people under stressful conditions, without a microphone?

Your livelihood may depend on how successfully you use your voice. Often people are judged by how their voice sounds, i.e. she sounds tired, upset, angry, or happy. They can also be perceived by others as either confident or not, sincere or not, caring or not and so on, based on the sound and/or tone of voice alone, aside from the content of what is being said. The actual quality of your voice and how it is perceived by others may be impacted by how well you take care of your voice and how you produce sound.

Some of the signs of a voice problem are:

-persistently rough, hoarse or raspy voice
-vocal fatigue
-reduced pitch range
-reduced ability to project voice
-sore or achy throat
-vocal tremor
-voice problems with colds or allergies that take longer to go away
-a change in nasality/ resonance of your voice

Some tips for keeping your voice healthy:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid or reduce yelling, loud coughing and harsh throat
  • If you are a singer or professional voice user, make sure you have a vocal warm up and cool down
  • Move out of a noisy environment to speak with someone, whenever possible, so you aren’t talking above the noise
  • Work on smoking cessation, if you smoke, and avoid second-hand smoke
  • Use a humidifier in your home
  • Get enough rest and rest your voice when you are sick

A change in your voice, leading to difficulties in your day to day work or social life, may be treatable by an SLP. Speech therapists may be able to guide you in learning to use your voice wisely and help you to avoid doing further damage to your voice. Therapy for voice problems is typically short term and often people can return to the work or activities that they enjoy.

SLPs can be found in hospitals, clinics, schools and private practices. Insurance plans may not cover voice therapy, so be sure to check with your insurance company ahead of time. Affordable in-home, private pay services are available through Beyond Speech.

Lynne Conley MA, CCC-SLP
Licensed Speech Language Pathologist
Beyond Speech LLC
Phone: 612 594 6897
Fax: 612 466 2911

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