Duke Voice Care Center offers voice therapy to strengthen and protect patients' voices.
Voice therapy improves the health, function, quality, and stamina of the voice. It is often described as “physical therapy for the voice.”
Many people undergo voice therapy after having an evaluation by a laryngologist (voice doctor) and speech-language pathologist who identify a problem that can be treated by making adjustments to vocal behaviors and lifestyle.
During voice therapy, the speech-language pathologist works with the patient to address vocal hygiene and behavioral factors that improve the health of the voice.
Vocal hygiene means supporting the health and function of the voice. This includes improving hydration, decreasing vocal misuse or overuse, and managing allergies, asthma, acid reflux, and other medical conditions that can affect the voice.
Behavioral factors include how the voice is being used and may incorporate improving vocal pacing (how much and in what situations the voice is used), changing vocal habits, improving vocal efficiency, and practicing vocal exercises. Patients may also learn ways to compensate for their voice problems, allowing them to participate in their daily activities to the fullest.
Coaches, educators, clergy members, salespeople, and telemarketers are among the many individuals who undergo voice therapy. Although occupational voice users make up a large portion of voice patients, anyone can develop a voice problem at any stage of life.
Vocal health is important for everyone.
In speaking voice therapy, the patient and clinician develop a plan to improve vocal hygiene, vocal pacing, and speaking voice technique. The patient learns vocal exercises designed to balance the three parts of the vocal mechanism -- airflow, vocal fold vibration, and the vocal tract (throat, nose, and mouth).
These exercises may target:
In speaking voice therapy, the goal is to improve how well the voice works to allow the patient to return to normal daily activities.
For patients with traumatic vocal fold injuries such as nodules, polyps, and cysts, voice therapy focuses on minimizing overuse or misuse of the voice.
Some types of voice problems such as vocal fold paralysis and vocal fold atrophy result in a weak voice. In these cases, therapy focuses on improving the strength and quality of the voice.
For patients with neurological voice problems (spasmodic dysphonia, vocal tremor, Parkinson’s disease), therapy is designed to improve vocal coordination. These patients will also learn how to compensate effectively for the voice problem.
Some patients have complex medical problems, in which case the voice therapist collaborates with other providers to ensure that all factors affecting the voice are addressed.
Singing voice therapy is for all singers, regardless of professional status, amount of training, and singing style. It involves the practice of high intensity vocal exercises tailored to the patient. These exercises improve vocal range, endurance, and quality.
They also help heal injuries, resolve excess muscle tension, and teach compensation for voice weakness.
In addition to learning about vocal pacing and hygiene, singers learn strategies to enhance their performance.
The goal of singing voice therapy is to return the singer to their highest level of vocal performance, allowing continuation of singing and avoiding recurrence of the voice problem.
Singing voice therapy is conducted by a singing voice specialist, a professional with knowledge and training not only in voice anatomy, physiology, and voice disorders, but also vocal pedagogy, vocal performance, and singing voice rehabilitation.
Before voice therapy can be scheduled, patients need to undergo an evaluation by a member of our staff. Call 919-684-3834 (local) or 800-385-3646 (toll-free) to schedule an evaluation with a voice care specialist in the Triangle of North Carolina. We see patients from Durham, Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, and beyond. Learn more about appointments with Duke Voice Care Center specialists.
This service is available at: