The objective of voice therapy is to either improve or get rid of the problems associated with the vocal sound creation in the larynx of an individual.After the voice therapy gets completed the voice is expected to sound like before as it used to and be stronger. In the voice therapy there are several exercising techniques which have been tailored to solve all the problems associated with voice. For the majority of the vocal disorders, voice therapy is the best and most suitable option for treatment. The voice of an individual may sound rough and harsh; it might also sound like husky or strained. An example for a person suffering from a voice disorder can be if an individual is not able to hold a key as it was done by that individual previously. Another instance of a voice disorder is a singer not being able to sing songs having low or high notes. It has also been observed that the voice of the person may vanish in some cases.
There are different types of voice disorders which require treatment through voice therapy. The disorders of the voice are grouped as follows Organic voice disorder: this is a type of disorder which is caused when the larynx is affected by the change. The physical changes observed in the voice may also result from a functional disorder. The vocal cords of an individual getting paralyze after undergoing thyroid surgery come under organic voice therapy.
Psychogenic voice disorder: in this type of disorder the voice may become hoarse. After the occurrence of a distressing event, an individual may completely lose his/her voice. Functional voice disorder: this kind of disorder arises in people that have a habit of speaking loudly and frequently. Some people might speak in a register which is not suitable for them. Thus, it would not be wrong to say that voice therapy involves changing the biomechanics of the production of voice.
There are numerous voice therapy techniques that are available and which can be applied for the treatment of the voice disorder. However, the approach taken for voice therapy varies for distinct individuals. There is no specific voice therapy treatment that can be given to all the patients. Before starting the treatment with any of voice therapy techniques it is essential that a voice therapist first assess the symptoms being exhibited by a patient and then decide which single or combination of techniques would be best suited for the treatment.
Some of the voice therapy approaches which are applied for treatment are given below
Symptomatic voice therapy: in this methodology of the voice therapy the symptoms which are causing the voice disorders are either directly or indirectly modified. This therapy modifies the loudness, rate, laryngeal muscle tension, resonance, phonation, and respiration. One of the most widely used techniques in symptomatic voice treatment methodology is chant-talk technique. This therapy is useful in the reduction of the phonatory effect. The objective of this technique to decrease the effort required for talking. Initially, a patient is made to hear a few recordings and is then told to imitate them in different patterns of voice. Another technique belonging to the symptomatic voice therapy treatment is resonant voice therapy. This technique is often taught to the singers and actors for enhancing their production of voice. In this technique, the force of the vibration of vocal cords against each other is reduced.
Physiologic voice therapy: a treatment thought this methodology is adopted when the vocal mechanism is disturbed by a voice disorder. In this therapy, the physiologic activities are modified that are having an effect on the resonance, phonation, and respiration. The objective of this therapy is to strike a balance among several subsystems. The most common technique used for voice therapy in this methodology is accent method. This technique finds its use in the treatment of dysphonia, dysprosody, and stuttering. The main objectives of this technique are a reduction of the glottis waste, increasing the pulmonary output, stabilizing the vibration pattern, and reduction in the muscle tension. This procedure is divided into two parts which are diaphragmatic breathing and rhythmic vowel play. If a patient has undergone laryngectomy for the treatment of some disorder then voice prosthesis is used to help the patient in speaking. In such a patient voice therapy is used for regaining the ability to speak.
Any individual that is suffering from the disorder of the voice is eligible for the treatment using voice therapy. A patient suffering from the following problems associated with the voice is eligible for treatment
A patient suffering from the laryngitis is eligible for the treatment as it can lead to loss of voice quality. A patient suffering from the swelling of the vocal cords is a candidate for the treatment. A patient suffering from a neuromuscular disorder like strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and laryngeal cancer is an eligible candidate for treatment as these disorders affect the voice quality.
Whether a person is eligible for treatment through voice therapy or not is decided by the doctor based on the voice quality and the condition a patient is suffering from. A patient having a problem of sore throat is not an eligible candidate for treatment with voice therapy as this condition usually goes away after some time. A person who is not suffering from any voice disorders is not eligible for treatment with voice therapy.
Any treatment involving medicines, surgeries, and injectable have some or the other side effect associated with them. The side effects range from being mild to severe. The occurrence of a mild or a severe side effect varies from patient to patient. A patient experiencing a mild side effect does not need to worry as they usually go away after a brief period of time. However, in case a serious side effect is experienced then the doctor must be informed promptly by the patient.
A patient undergoing treatment using voice therapy does not experience any potential side effects of the treatment. Since the treatment through voice therapy involves exercises of the vocal muscles hence no side effect is observed. However, in the initial stages of the therapy, a patient may experience some pain and difficulty.
In the majority of the patients that have been advised treatment with voice therapy, the voice grows stronger only after two to three weeks of therapy. During this duration, a doctor may examine the vocal cords to check whether a recovery has started or not. A complete recovery of a patient depends upon the condition for which the voice therapy treatment is being undertaken. In minor cases may only take a couple of weeks while in a severe condition it may take months to completely recover from the voice disorder.
The cost of voice therapy in India varies for different cities. In small cities, the fees of the voice therapist range from 300 to 700 rupees per session based on the experience of the therapist. In metro cities, the fees of voice therapist range from 1000 to 2000 rupees per based on the experience of the voice therapist.
In the majority of the cases the results of the treatment of voice therapy are permanent. But as they say future is uncertain thus there is always a possibility that a voice disorder may reoccur in the future unless prevented by some effective post-treatment measures.
The alternatives to the treatment of voice therapy include the surgical procedure of the vocal cords or use of a vocal prosthesis. The surgical procedures may include cricothyroid approximation, laryngoplasty, and laser-assisted voice adjustment. In the voice prosthesis, an artificial device made of silicon helps the patient in speaking. However, these techniques are only useful if they are used in conjunction with voice therapy.