Voice Impairment

Voice changes in children can occur for several reasons, including neurological changes, infection, hyperfunctional use, and unusual growths.  Contact your child’s pediatrician for an evaluation if you notice a change in your child’s voice. The pediatrician may send your child to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor.  An ENT can then fit a small camera through your child’s nose and throat. This makes it possible to see the vocal folds which are located in the voice box.

Voice treatment by a speech-language pathologist may also be recommended.   Voice difficulty that might require therapy includes:

  • Hyperfunctional voice disorder (overusing the voice)
  • Paradoxical vocal fold motion (vocal fold movement that is not normal)
  • Paralyzed vocal fold
  • Vocal nodules (small bumps on the vocal folds caused by overuse)

The voice evaluation will include completion of a case history, perceptual voice measures, and instrumental voice measures.

Voice treatment can include:

  • Education about how the voice works
  • Recommendations for lifestyle changes that can improve the structure or the function of the voice
  • Recommendations and treatment activities for changing how the voice is used
  • Exercises to improve the strength and efficiency of vocal fold movement

Lake Regional’s speech pathologists have years of experience treating voice disorders and have been trained at some of the top universities in the country. Through continuing education, they are able to use up to date voice treatment methods to help children return to normal voice function.

Please note: If your child has a change in the way his or her voice sounds that lasts more than three weeks, you should always take him to the pediatrician for an evaluation. If the doctor’s treatment plan does not help your child return to normal voice function, you should schedule an ENT evaluation.

For more information about voice disorders, please visit the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website.