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Voice problems are known to decrease the effectiveness of communication, lower quality of life and cost money in terms of time off and reduced productivity.
Most voice problems can be fixed or improved once accurately diagnosed and treated by a multidisciplinary team including a Speech Pathologist, and an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT).
People of any age and either gender can have a voice disorder, if they define their voice as not meeting their needs.
Common voice complaints can include:
- “It takes a lot of effort to speak”
- “My voice just cuts out for no reason”
- “I am exhausted at the end of the day of talking”,
- “I find it hard to speak to my friends in a noisy restaurant”
- “The sound of my voice changes over the day”
- “When I open my mouth I am not sure what will come out”
- “I feel like am being choked when I talk”
- “I clear my throat all the time”
- “When she comes home from a day at school she can hardly talk”
- “I can’t project my voice”
- “I’ve lost the top range of my singing voice”
When to seek help:
- If the difficulty with your voice persists after the cause (e.g. infection, yelling, stress) has passed.
- If the difficulty with your voice isn’t helped by medication or voice rest, or these remedies only help temporarily.
- If the sound of your voice changes, especially after a lot of use. For example, it becomes hoarse, higher or lower in pitch, becomes weaker or tired AND DOES NOT RECOVER OVERNIGHT.
- If you experience pain or discomfort in your throat from use (not a throat infection or severe cough).
- If you feel a persistent tickle in your throat when you talk? Does it feel dry or gravelly?
What should you do?
- Consult your GP for referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon who specialises in voice difficulties and/or Speech Pathologist, who is trained in examining and evaluating vocal function.