Voice Problems

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Teacher's Voice Care Program

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Cate Madill Voice & Speech have developed a Teacher Voice Care Program that can be implemented across diocese, regions or individual schools.

The program aims to not only provide assessment and treatment to teachers with existing vocal difficulties, but also to prevent future vocal injuries by increasing teacher’s awareness of their voice and how they can take care of it.

Of all professional voice users, teachers are the highest risk population. International research that has demonstrated that teachers are between 3 and 5 times more likely to experience voice problems than the general population and 32 times more likely to report voice problems than the general population. Most commonly problems are reported by music teachers, physical education teachers, language teachers, preschool and primary school teachers.

Up to 20% of teachers experience voice problems every year. The cost of voice injury in teachers in Australia is significant, not only in financial terms, but also in the hidden costs. Researchers report that even a mildly hoarse voice can:

  • Have a significant negative impact on student learning
  • Reduce a teachers's effectiveness with behaviour     management
  • Affect job satisfaction
  • Be a frequent cause of absenteeism

Thankfully, voice therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of many voice injuries experienced by teachers. Voice care education and voice training can have a positive impact on preventing voice problems for teachers. For more information on the Teachers Voice Care Program, or to organise a voice care educational session at your school please email admin@catemadill.com.au

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Singing Voice Rehabilitation

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Singing is thought to be the ultimate form of human emotional expression. Singing brings both the listener and singer a deep and profound experience of connection with music, emotion, poetry and for many, spirituality. When a singer’s voice is compromised, it can bring not only financial deprivation but deep emotional distress and a sense of loss of an essential form of self-expression. We understand that singing is deeply personal and unique to the individual. As a result, we aim to ensure the most accurate diagnosis of the singer’s difficulty, the most effective and targeted treatment, and an individualised management plan to accommodate essential performance commitments as well as consideration of workload during rehabilitation. We are committed to working with other voice professional such as; specialised ENT/laryngologists, singing teachers, performance coaches, physical therapists and your performing colleagues (music directors, choral conductors, etc) to ensure the best outcome possible for every singer, whether they be a full time professional or a part-time chorister.

All of our speech pathologists have music, singing or performance training, and in many cases have experienced voice difficulties that have impacted their own voices.

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Trans and Gender Diverse Voice Training

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Our voice is central to our sense of identity and how we express ourselves in the world. If our voice isn’t congruent with who we are then we can be mistaken for someone we aren’t. We work with you to find your authentic voice, the voice that expresses your unique identity and gender expression. We understand that changing your voice can be an uncertain process, without a clear or defined end point. No matter where you are on your journey we focus on your individual goals and aspirations for your voice and develop an individualised management plan for your specific needs.

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Chronic Cough/ Breathing Difficulties

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Chronic Cough

Chronic cough is defined as a cough that lasts for more than 8 weeks and doesn’t respond to medical treatment. The cough may be triggered by one or more of the following: talking, strong smells such as perfumes, exercise or exertion, inhaled irritants such as smoke or pollution, reflux, postnasal drip or even cold air.

A chronic cough can be socially isolating, embarrassing and exhausting. Speech pathology assessment and treatment can provide strategies and techniques to help gain some control over the impulse to cough and reduce the sensitivity in the throat. In some cases medication may be suggested by a respiratory or Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to supplement speech pathology treatment.

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ILO/ PVFM/ VCD

Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction (ILO), also known as Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion (PVFM) or Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD), is a condition that affects a person’s ability to breathe IN easily. When we breathe our vocal cords should be open to allow air to freely pass in and out our lungs. During an ILO episode, the vocal cords close or narrow when breathing in instead of opening. The person may feel like they can’t get enough air in and the in-breath can be very noisy. In extreme cases the voice box may spasm shut completely which can be very frightening. The episodes often start and resolve very suddenly and can last from a few seconds to a few hours. Episodes can be triggered by; inhaled irritants, specific smells (e.g. perfume or flowers), reflux, intense exercise and stress. This condition is sometimes confused with asthma however does not usually respond to standard asthma treatment. Speech pathology assists with breathing retraining which can be effective in relieving symptoms during an episode, as well as reducing the severity and frequency of symptoms. ILO is usually diagnosed by either a respiratory specialist or an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist with an interest in airway disorders after other causes for breathing difficulties such as lung problems, asthma or other medical conditions have been ruled out.

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Speech and Language Difficulties

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The ability to communicate clearly allows us to; connect with others, express our thoughts and feelings, learn effectively, inspire and teach others and help others meet our needs. The words we choose, as well as how clearly and smoothly we pronounce those words, all impact greatly on a person’s ability to communicate easily and effectively.

Language difficulties (not being able to think of words to express our thoughts or put words together in the right way) can have a severe impact on our ability to interact with people around us. Our speech pathologists assist both children and adults having difficulty with their speech sounds, their language (the words we use to express ourselves) and/or stuttering (how smooth or fluent a person’s speech is). Our team can work with you and/ or your family to assess your communication needs, identify any areas that will benefit from therapy and plan appropriate and individual management.

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Swallowing

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Trouble eating or drinking?

Difficulty swallowing, also called dysphagia, can involve any or all stages of swallowing and may include: keeping food inside the mouth, chewing adequately, having food get stuck in the throat or coughing or choking whilst eating or drinking.

If food is not swallowed successfully into the stomach, it can enter the airways (this is called aspiration), which can in turn cause pneumonia. Difficulties swallowing can occur after a stroke, traumatic brain injury, as part of a progressive neurological disease, following spinal surgery, with head and neck cancers and/or can be a part of aging.

Research tells us that up to 60% of people who have had a stroke develop dysphagia and that it can occur in up to 20% of people over age 50 years of age.

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Workshops & Voice Training

Workshops

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We run individually designed workshops on a range of topics for professional and social groups, including corporate leaders, sales teams, teachers, communications specialists, performing groups, auctioneer houses, call centres, medical professionals, and community choirs. Workshops and presentations have been provided to many different organisations including the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, The Gender Centre, The Law Society NSW, The NSW Department of Health, The Royal College of General Practitioners, Ray White Real Estate and New Creation Church.

Our team is also happy to conduct professional development workshops/ in-services for speech pathology professionals. To arrange a workshop specifically tailored to your professional needs, please contact us.

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Voice Training

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Cate offers one-one training sessions to identify the features of your voice that are holding you back, individual vocal exercises, guidance and practice schedules to put you on the path to vocal mastery and improved communicative effectiveness.

Cate’s training approach utilises the latest information and innovations in voice technique, psychology, effective practice schedules and performance/presentation skills.

Sessions can be conducted in Cate’s rooms in Ultimo, Westmead or via the internet.

To book an appointment for a voice assessment, contact us below.

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