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Key points

  • 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

What voice conditions are there?

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.

Those with vocal disorders often experience difficulties with social communications. It has a major impact on 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.

Role of speech and language therapy for voice conditions

SLTs working with dysphonic patients are members of a specialist multidisciplinary team, and it is suggested they be commissioned as part of such. 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.

Resources

For further information read our voice factsheet

Video

Related Topic Areas

Key organisations