Adult Voice Therapy in Dubuque
Each year, millions of people are affected by voice disorders. For those who rely on their voice for their careers - such as teachers, singers and public speakers - problems such as chronic hoarseness and vocal fatigue can be life changing. At UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital, our voice and speech therapy services focus on coordinated care practices that assist you in regaining control of your voice disorder.
What is a voice disorder?
A voice disorder is a medical condition involving abnormal pitch, loudness or quality of the sound produced by the larynx (voice box). Proper diagnosis plays an important role in the successful treatment process of a voice disorder as many different factors cause these types of disorders.
Several structural and nervous system factors contribute to common voice disorder issues such as:
- Development of benign growths on vocal cords; vocal cord paralysis or tremors as caused by previous brain or nervous system damage.
- Excessive muscle tension, or abnormal movement of the vocal cords.
- Factors such as allergies, acid reflux, inflammation/swelling, smoking, upper respiratory infections, or poor voice habits can lead to changes in vocal quality.
Vocal Cord Dysfunction, a common, voice disorder, is one that is often misdiagnosed as asthma, especially in athletes. This condition is easily treated with voice therapy and breathing exercises.
What is voice therapy?
Voice therapy involves exercises that focus on breath support, vocal cord movement, voice quality and voice muscle relaxation. General voice care practices, as well as guided lifestyle and vocal behavior changes are tailored to the individual to treat their specific voice disorder. A certified and licensed speech language pathologist is equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to provide effective behavioral treatment for voice disorders.
A voice therapy evaluation includes:
- Thorough evaluation of individual's background, medical history and typical daily voice use
- Examination of voice structure, breathing patterns, head and neck
- Rating scales to determine how the voice problem impacts the individual
- Vocal care education
- Evaluation of breath control, resonance, pitch, volume, melody and rate of speech, using computer based Visi Pitch software.
What is Visi Pitch and how will it help my voice disorder?
Used with a microphone and computer, Visi Pitch is a type of software that provides visual feedback for patients in order to achieve pitch, quality and volume voice goals. As the voice travels through the microphone, patients are able to "see" their voices on a computer screen, allowing them to improve voice techniques. Visi Pitch technology provides valuable information about voice function and measurement, evaluation and treatment.
What's the next step to improve my voice issue?
Your doctor may refer you to see an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) to determine vocal cord issues or problems if you're experiencing noticeable hoarseness or persistent changes in voice for 2-3 weeks or longer, frequent voice loss when speaking, or trouble with voice volume.
Please contact Finley's Asbury Square Outpatient Rehab Services at (563) 589-2497 for information and questions regarding the condition of your communication and vocal abilities. A physician referral is required to begin treatment for those experiencing vocal challenges.