Voice Disorders

A voice disorder is characterized by a non typical, and unpleasant quality of voice. It can be excessively harsh, breathy, hoarse, or abnormal pitch, or loudness, given age and gender. It is always recommended that anyone with an unpleasant/non typical sounding voice, pain in the laryngeal area (around the adam's apple or voice box), or a suspected voice disorder seek immediate attention from a qualified physician. Usually an Otolaryngologist (or Ear, Nose and Throat doctor) will be the professional to diagnose and recommend treatment for a vocal disorder. The causes can be varied from vocal pathology, incorrect use of the voice, or just cheering at a football game. Vocal misuse can lead to the development of a voice disorder, thus it is important to protect and care for your voice. Some general guidelines are as follows:
1. Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids daily. Water hydrates/lubricates the tissues around the vocal folds.
2. Your voice can tell on you if you are not caring for your body, or if you are sick. Thus, it is important to follow a healthy plan of diet and exercise.
3. Refrain from shouting, yelling excessively. In creased/prolonged loudness of speech during sporting events, concerts, loud places and/or improper tension of the laryngeal area to increase volume may contribute to poor vocal quality.
4. Use products that have a dehydrating effect on the body and voice in moderation (i.e. caffeine). Smoking (even second hand smoke) and allergens can be irritating to the vocal cords/larynx as well.
5. For children, try to reduce making gruff noises such as car/motor sounds with the voice. This may place stress on the vocal folds.
6. If your child is using his/her voice in extracurricular activities such as singing, debating, or cheering, please seek professional advice for the proper way to project your voice without placing strain on the vocal folds.

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