Whether you use your voice professionally or in everyday conversation, voice therapy can play an essential role in restoring and strengthening your voice. The Duke Voice Care Center offers comprehensive voice therapy at locations in Durham and Raleigh. We are one of the few centers in the Southeast with a team of skilled voice specialists who have the advanced training and experience to ensure you receive the best possible care and return quickly to your normal voice activities.
About Voice Therapy
Anyone can develop a voice problem at any stage of life. People who are in professions that place demands on their voice -- for example, teachers, coaches, clergy members, performers, and telemarketers -- may be more likely to have voice problems.
Voice therapy can improve the health, function, quality, and stamina of your voice. That's why it's often described as "physical therapy for your voice." You may be referred for voice therapy after a voice evaluation by a laryngologist -- an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor with advanced training in voice disorders -- and a speech-language pathologist who identify a problem that can be treated by adjusting your vocal behaviors and lifestyle.
During voice therapy, your speech-language pathologist will create an exercise program tailored to your specific voice problem, to help you get your voice back on track. It will take expert guidance from your therapist and consistent practice at home to reach your goal. You'll learn how to rebalance your entire vocal instrument -- for example, how to use breath to speak, and how relaxing the throat can help you produce your easiest and best sound.
Voice therapy can also help you improve your voice if you suffer from:
Guided vocal exercises improve breathing, reduce throat strain, and find your optimal volume for strong, healthy speaking.
If appropriate, you may receive targeted massage of the voice box muscles, performed by a speech pathologist trained in these techniques. Patients often experience dramatic relief of throat strain and discomfort. You may also learn stretches and self-massage techniques for daily use to reduce strain and support relaxed, healthy voice use.
Your speech pathologist will offer guidance on factors that support the health and function of your voice, such as improving hydration, reducing misuse or overuse of your voice, avoiding throat clearing and coughing, and coordinating with your laryngologist to manage allergies, asthma, acid reflux, or other medical conditions that can affect your voice.
While voice rest is not the first line of treatment for most voice problems, it is still beneficial to stop talking in certain situations such as acute laryngitis, after voice surgery, or in the case of vocal cord hemorrhage. There are times when voice rest is recommended to give the vocal cords a break from vibration so they can heal from injury. Your laryngologist may recommend about a week of voice rest. During this time you can communicate by writing, sending emails or texts, or using a text-to-speech app on your smartphone.
Finding a balance between voice use and voice rest every day is important if you have a voice problem that worsens with overuse. Vocal pacing means not talking for small amounts of time (10 to 15 minutes) at intervals during the day to allow your vocal cords to recover from vibration. If your profession makes heavy demands on your voice, it's also important to take longer periods of voice rest outside of work. Without these recovery times, your vocal cords may be injured more quickly and heal more slowly. Vocal pacing is challenging but necessary, and your speech pathologist will work with you to develop good strategies for vocal pacing.
We work with singers of all levels, from those who sing for enjoyment to high-level performers who need immediate vocal services. Singing voice therapy involves the practice of high-intensity vocal exercises designed to help you improve your vocal range, endurance, and voice quality. Our goal is to return you to your highest level of vocal performance, allowing you to continue singing and helping you avoid recurrence of the voice problem.