Changes in voice can develop following overuse or misuse, secondary to certain medical conditions and following an upper respiratory infection or surgery. Singers may experience disruptions in their singing because of problems with their speaking voice.
Vocal symptoms may include hoarseness, breathiness, rough or raspy voice, decreased pitch range, vocal fatigue, inability to speak loudly, limited pitch or loudness variations, voice lasting only for a short time, "lump in throat' sensation or discomfort in the neck or throat.
Diagnoses frequently treated include:
- Benign vocal lesions such as vocal nodules, cysts and polyps
- Muscle tension dysphonia (MTD)
- Vocal fold paralysis or paresis
- Paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM)/vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)/laryngeal disordered breathing
- Spasmodic dysphonia and vocal tremor
- Vocal fold atrophy secondary to aging or neurodegenerative disease
An initial evaluation is performed using sophisticated instrumentation so that a customized voice therapy program can be developed.
Voice therapy is pursued to discover what behaviors may be causing your vocal problems and restore normal vocal function. Therapy efforts for children and adults focus on introducing strategies for daily voice care, eliminating vocal abuses, and providing direct voice treatment to alter pitch, enhance vocal power and endurance through tasks emphasizing breath support, voicing and resonance. Voice therapy is typically implemented prior to and following vocal surgeries.
If you have experienced a hoarse voice for more than two weeks, you should consult a physician or otolaryngologist.