Voice difficulties often present as an issue with loudness, voice quality, or rate of speech.

Voices that are raspy, strained, breathy, inappropriately low or high, and hoarse may be due to a voice disorder. Voice disorders can be addressed through regular voice therapy, but we advise seeing an ENT first to ensure there are no structural issues in your ear, nose, and throat.

What does a voice disorder sound like?

A voice disorder may sound like:

  • A Scratchy Voice
  • Breathy Voice
  • Strained
  • Raspy
  • Hoarse
  • Inappropriately High or Low
  • Garbled
  • Squeaking
  • Noisy or Difficult Breathing
  • If you are personally not satisfied with how your voice sounds.

Speech-language pathologists can also work with transgender patients to achieve their desired vocal quality.

What causes a voice disorder?

Voice disorders can be caused by various factors, including overusing your voice, short-term illnesses (i.e. cold, allergies, sinus infection), structural issues, and degenerative disorders (i.e. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.).

How Are Voice Disorders Treated?

Treatment for voice disorders depends on the cause of the voice problems. Many voice disorders can be treated by implementing a vocal hygiene regimen, vocal rest, vocal exercises, conversation training therapy, or other therapy techniques with a speech-language pathologist.

What is vocal hygiene?

Vocal hygiene is a set of good voicing habits that prevents vocal fatigue and helps maintain the integrity and health of your vocal folds and vocal nodules. Some examples of healthy habits include:

  • Avoiding Irritants
  • Hydration
  • Avoiding Yelling or Whispering
  • Avoiding Throat Clearing

A good vocal hygiene regimen can help improve and maintain a healthy voice quality.