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Enjoying Clean Water

What is a voice disorder? 

 

A voice disorder refers to insufficient or atypical use of resonance, pitch, volume, or overall vocal quality from what is typical for one's age, gender identity, and/or cultural background. 

 

Voice disorders can be organic, functional, and/or psychogenic in nature. 

  • Organic voice disorders refer to physiologic problems with the respiratory, laryngeal, and/or vocal tract systems. Organic voice disorders may be structural (e.g. changes due to aging, inflammation, trauma within the vocal tract, etc.) or neurogenic (e.g.issues with vocal mechanism functioning secondary to nervous system insufficiencies). Neurologic disorders that may affect vocal tract functioning include, but are not limited to Parkinson’s disease, vocal fold paralysis, spasmodic dysphonia, etc..  

  • Functional voice disorders refer to an adequately structured vocal mechanism paired with inefficient use (e.g. overuse, increased effort, inefficient pitch, etc.)  

  • Psychogenic voice disorders refer to insufficient use in the absence of organic or functional problems. These voice disorders occur most frequently in tandem with mental illness (e.g. anxiety, depression, stress disorders, etc.). 

Who needs voice therapy

 

Support from a speech language pathologist would be beneficial if there's concern about voice impacting quality of life, or if any of the signs and symptoms below are noted: 

  • Raspiness, roughness

  • Harshness  

  • Atypical pitch, volume, or resonance  

  • Limited pitch or volume range 

  • Weakness 

  • Atypical breaks 

  • Unsteadiness 

  • Hypernasal or hyponasal 

  • Loss of voice 

  • Wet-sounding voice 

  • Shakiness 

  • Vocal fry 

  • Throat pain and/or tenderness 

  • Increased effort 

  • Frequent vocal fatigue 

  • Frequent vocal quality variability 

  • Frequent coughing and/or throat clearing 

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