Monday, 16 April 2012

Love your voice


Today the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) is celebrating World Voice Day. The theme for 2012, "Love Your Voice," aims to remind us that our voice is an essential communication tool and encourages everyone to assess their vocal health and take action to improve or maintain good voice habits.
People with voice problems may experience a variety of symptoms, such as changes in vocal pitch, hoarseness, loss of voice or throat discomfort when talking or singing. Through a variety of assessment and treatment approaches, speech-language pathologists work with other health professionals to help improve voice disorders.

“Most people take their voices for granted until a problem develops,” says CASLPA speech-language pathologist member Dr. Linda Rammage, Director of the Provincial Voice Care Resource Program in Vancouver, B.C. “In order to stay flexible and work properly, the vocal folds need to be well hydrated and relaxed, and the speaker needs to be able to hear his/her own voice, to calibrate it based on acoustic feedback.”

People with voice problems may experience a variety of symptoms, such as changes in vocal pitch, hoarseness, loss of voice or throat discomfort when talking or singing. Through a variety of assessment and treatment approaches, speech-language pathologists work with other health professionals to help improve voice disorders.

“We live in a noisy world and often people cannot hear themselves as they speak so they tense their throat and breathing muscles,” adds Rammage. “We stand on a busy street yelling into our cell phones or sing with the radio as we are driving in our cars in traffic without thinking about the strain we are putting on our vocal folds.”
Voice dysfunction can be caused by lifestyle and behavioural factors such as talking over noise and yelling; neurological problems such as Parkinson’s Disease and strokes; environmental irritants such as cigarette smoke, cancer, and respiratory infections and viruses. In most cases, voice problems are caused by a combination of lifestyle, emotional factors, reflux and vocal habits.

If you or someone you know has a communication problem or limitation, CASLPA recommends consulting an S-LP or audiologist. For more information about the role these professionals play in the management of communication disorders or to find an S-LP or audiologist in your area, visit CASLPA’s website atwww.speechandhearing.ca.

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