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VOICE DISORDERS

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Have you had a voice injury or are you concerned about changes in how your voice sounds?

Symptoms of a voice disorder range from hoarseness or a chronic dry,

scratchy throat, a pitch/tone that is not pleasing,

limitations in the ability to speak clearly, or periods of voice loss.

For people who rely heavily on their voice for their career, such as singers, motivational speakers, clergymen, teachers, broadcasters, and actors, they may use voice therapy as a preventive measure,

with the ultimate goal of preserving their voice from damage.

We offer services to rehabilitate your voice following an injury,

prevent vocal injuries, and maintain a healthy voice.

 

We are trained and certified in many voice and singing voice techniques, including:

LSVT LOUD, SPEAK OUT! Buteyko Breathing Method, Resonant Voice Therapy,

Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises, Myofascial Release, Vocal Function Exercises and more.

Voice Disorders: Store Policies

Organic Voice Disorders 

  • These disorders are caused by physiological changes in how sound is produced:  respiration/breathing, the larynx/voice box and the vocal tract (the area from the nose and the nasal cavity down to the vocal cords deep in the throat).
     

  • Structural/physical disorders: vocal fold/cord changes (for example, swelling or vocal nodules) OR changes to the larynx/voice box due to aging.
     

  • Neurogenic disorders: caused by brain/nervous system damage or malfunction as it interacts with the larynx. Sometimes your nerves can become damaged during common surgeries and cause a lack of movement or weakness in the vocal fold (vocal fold paralysis/paresis). Other voice problems can be caused by a neurological disorder such as Parkinson's disease or myasthenia gravis.

Functional Voice Disorders

  • Voice disorders that result from inefficient or improper use of the voice. In other words, this type of injury happens when there is not an anatomical or neurological change present.
     

  • Examples of this type of injury are vocal fatigue, muscle tension dysphonia (MTD), diplophonia (the vocal folds are vibrating out of sync due to an injury) and ventricular phonation (the false vocal folds squeeze over the true vocal folds)

Upper Airway Disorders

  • Upper airway disorders can cause painful inflammation that makes it difficult to breath. These types of disorders can sometimes be confused for asthma.
     

  • Symptoms of an upper airway disorder can include: difficulty breathing, Chronic cough, Irritable larynx and Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion (PVFM) or Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD).

Your healthcare provider may recommend voice therapy if you have a voice disorder, such as:
 

  • Chronic Cough: Coughing helps you clear your throat and lungs and can even prevent infection. But sometimes a cough can become chronic. Chronic cough is a cough that lasts more than 4 weeks in children and more than 8 weeks in adults. 

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD): COPD is an umbrella term that includes emphysema, bronchitis, and, at times, asthma. The main symptoms of COPD are usually: shortness of breath, difficulty with physical activity, a chronic obstructive cough, loss of appetite with possible weight loss, and increased fatigue.

  • Laryngitis: Allergies or an upper respiratory infection irritate your voice box, causing it to swell. Laryngitis typically improves when the underlying condition clears up.

  • Muscle tension dysphonia: Excess stress on your vocal cords causes your muscles to tighten. Post-radiation fibrosis can also occur following radiation treatment for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC).

  • Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction (ILO) (may also be referred to as Vocal cord dysfunction or Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion): Vocal cords want to shut when they should be open. Vocal cord dysfunction can lead to trouble breathing during exercise or when your throat is irritated. When this happens during exercise it is called Exercise Induced Laryngeal Obstruction (EILO). 

  • Presbylaryngis or vocal fold atrophy: As we age, muscle begins to atrophy. Age-related vocal cord changes may include loss of volume and bowing (inward curvature) of the vocal cord inner edges. This may lead to a gap between the vocal cords during speaking, and other muscles may subsequently squeeze more tightly to compensate for reduced vocal cord closure. 

  • Spasmodic dysphonia/vocal tremor: Voice box muscles spasm or shake, causing periodic breaks in speech. Spasmodic dysphonia is a neurological disorder and is typically treated with botox. Voice therapy may be beneficial following botox. 

  • Vocal cord lesions: Benign (noncancerous) growths form on vocal cords, affecting your voice. Types of vocal cord lesions include nodules, polyps and cysts. Singers and people who speak a lot, such as teachers and attorneys, are more prone to vocal cord lesions.

  • Vocal cord paralysis: One or both vocal folds have no movement or reduced movement, which you can’t control. This is due to scar or nerve damage. Vocal cord paralysis can cause hoarseness, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and shortness of breath (dyspnea)

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