Voice overview

Aphonia refers to a complete absence of voice.

Dysphonia refers to voice changes, characterised by abnormality of pitch, volume, resonance and/or quality which can be inconsistent or constant, ranging from mild to severe and which may be inappropriate for the age, gender or culture of the speaker.

Key points:

  • SLTs working with dysphonic patients are members of a specialist multidisciplinary team and it is suggested they be commissioned as part of such.
  • Direct speech and language therapy treatment of a person with the voice disorder is usually conducted in a one-to-one situation.
  • Educational programmes aimed at preventing voice disorders or their relapse are conducted in groups.
  • SLTs have a key role in identifying vocal risk, particularly in those who are heavy voice users, e.g. teachers, call centre workers, and in educating in methods of preventing vocal abuse.
  • Those with vocal disorders often experience difficulties with social communications.  It has a major impact upon the quality of life  as it can reduce access to recreation, education, employment, social integration, including forming relationships and expressing personality.
  • The level of input required is not linear to the severity of the symptom, e.g. a patient with a severely abnormal speaking voice may only require one session of SLT input, whereas a patient with an apparently normal speaking voice may require six sessions.

For further information read our voice factsheet

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