When visiting a speech pathologist for the first time, as you might guess, one of the first questions your clinician will ask you is what the reason for the visit is. If you are seeing a voice specialist, then most your concern will most likely be due to changes or issue that you have noticed with your voice. Once you have established what your concerns are your speech therapist may then ask you some questions about your voice.
Some examples of questions that your speech therapist may ask include:
- How often you use your voice (teachers and singers have a lot more chance of vocal strain and fatigue due to the amount of voice use required in their profession)
- When did you first notice the change in your voice?
- Do you have any lifestyle or medical concerns that may impact your voice (e.g. mouth breathing, allergies or smoking)
Next, your clinician will assess your voice while you speak and listen out for qualities such as vocal strain, roughness and breathiness.
You may then be asked to complete a number of exercises that assess how long you can produce a sound such as ‘ahh’, your pitch range as well as your volume range. Measures taken during these exercises can help to determine the extent and reason for the changes you may have noticed in your voice.
You may also be asked to fill out a self-rating scale where you will provide feedback about the extent of your voice changes and the impact they have had on your daily life. All of these measures serve as a baseline to measure change against, once you have completed therapy.
After the assessment has been completed, your therapist will provide you with the results, which will include a diagnosis and education about the likely causes of the diagnosis. You should also be provided with education about how to improve your voice such as through voice therapy exercises or vocal hygiene recommendation. Each diagnosis is different and based on the individuals presenting symptoms which guide the type of therapy provided. For this reason, it is essential that your voice be assessed properly by a qualifies voice therapist prior to commencing therapy.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have questions about language activities, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.