Although people often think of speech therapists as working with speech problems such as stutters or lisps, vocal training is a significant aspect of speech-language pathology. In addition to providing training to prevent and treat the effects of physical issues such as vocal fold nodules and polyps, a speech-language pathologist can also work to modify the quality of a person’s voice. If, for example, a person speaks with an overly breathy or nasal voice, a speech-language pathologist can provide insight into why the voice sounds as it does, and provide strategies and techniques for modifying these qualities. A speech therapist can also help you change your everyday habits to make sure you’re speaking with your strongest and healthiest voice possible. Here are just a few of the ways an SLP can help you speak with your best voice:
Create a Healthier Speaking Environment: Often bad vocal habits are a product of a specific environment, for example, a teacher who speaks loudly over a classroom filled with chattering students. A voice coach may suggest ways to modify the environment to make vocalizing easier. For example, in the case of the teacher, a voice amplification system may be recommended during class, or another means of gaining attention that does not use the voice at all (e.g., a whistle).
Techniques for a Stronger, Healthier Voice: A speech-language pathologist will provide strategies to help the client speak in a healthier manner. One major change typically involves reducing muscle tension which can create strain and pressure on the vocal cords. A speech therapist will provide exercises to reduce tension in the neck and throat to relax muscles and increase vocal quality. A speech-language pathologist can also help you learn how to breathe correctly to get the maximum amount of support as you speak.
Healthier Everyday Vocal Habits: Finally, the speech therapist may recommend everyday habits that will improve vocal quality. These can include drinking more water, changing eating habits, and reducing damaging vocal behavior, like habitual throat clearing.
Want to learn more? If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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