Overcoming Hoarseness with Speech Therapy

Hoarseness and Voice Therapy

If you’ve ever cheered your heart out at a sporting event or spent an evening belting out your favorite songs at karaoke, you’ve probably been hoarse the next day. “Hoarseness” is a term used to describe a voice that is raspy, breathy, strained, has irregular changes in volume or pitch, or some combination thereof. Hoarseness is a symptom that can result from a wide range of causes, some of which are short term – like yelling too loud at a concert – or long term. 

When hoarseness is a persistent problem, it can be the result of laryngitis, lesions to the vocal cords, or polyps or cysts on the vocal cords. All of those problems are more likely to arise if you’re a person who uses your voice more than the average person on a daily basis.For example, teachers, people who work at loud job sites like construction workers, and tour guides can all be susceptible to voice and vocal cord issues. Hoarseness can also affect high-energy children and children with louder than average voices. 

If hoarseness occurs regularly and goes untreated, it can make the damage to vocal cords worse, sometimes requiring surgery to correct. But with the help of voice therapy, many children and adults can reduce their hoarseness naturally. 

Voice therapy and speech therapy are related, and a trained speech language pathologist can help with both. Voice therapy involves teaching the person who is dealing with voice issues how to lessen or eliminate harmful vocal behaviors like shouting and whispering. It also involves learning exercises for properly warming up the vocal cords and using them in a way that makes it easier to be understood without resorting to harmful voice behaviors. Often, a few sessions a week for four to eight weeks can be enough time to help correct harmful behaviors and learn new vocal habits that will protect your vocal cords. 

To learn more about voice therapy or to set up a consultation with an SLP in Chicago, give our office a call. The right Chicago SLP can help you identify the root issues that might be causing your or your child’s hoarseness and can help ensure that you don’t do long-term damage to your vocal cords.