When a child’s voice sounds significantly different from other children of their same age and gender, a voice disorder may be the reason. Children with voice disorders sound too high, too low, too loud or too quiet, but the hallmark sign is hoarseness or a nasal sound.
Voice disorders matter because they could be the product of larynx damage and because they may interfere with a child’s ability to communicate effectively. Fortunately, they are very easy to treat.
While plenty of people have raspy voices or speak a little too loudly, determining whether or not your child’s voice quality and volume is related to a voice disorder is important. Children can be affected by a voice disorder in a number of ways:
While many voice disorders are not a major medical condition, they do change a person’s quality of life. Eliminating future voice-related medical concerns and improving quality of life are the reasons Carlin Speech offers voice disorder treatment for kids of all ages!
The most common cause of voice disorders is straining the voice. Children spend hours shouting, screaming, making sound effects, talking in funny voices and otherwise stretching out their vocal cords. It’s no wonder that some of them just overdo it! We also see voice disorders among children who have insufficient breath support, in which they articulate using residual air instead of using a controlled stream of air to articulate (straining their vocal chords), sing incorrectly or constantly cough or clear their throats.
Another common cause of voice disorders is benign nodules on the vocal cords. Nodules are harmless, but result in a thickening of the vocal cords.
A less common cause is Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion (PVFM), a condition in which the vocal cords close when they’re supposed to be open. PVFM needs to be addressed because it not only impacts the voice, but causes breathing problems, especially for kids who play sports. Voice therapy is a good treatment option for PVFM.
Very rarely, a voice disorder is the result of a tumor. Many of these tumors are benign, such as a hemangioma, which is a cluster of blood vessels sometimes present in the larynx or throat of babies with abnormal cries.
Voice therapy is a simple and effective treatment option for voice disorders in children. During the evaluation, we’ll assess your child’s speech, breathing and larynx health.
Voice therapy treatment will teach your child how to reduce strain on their vocal cords, how to use proper breathing patterns for speech, how diet can impact the voice, how to speak at an appropriate speed and volume, and how to identify the early signs of vocal strain, and ways to identify and avoid vocally abusive behaviors.
Consulting with physicians may be necessary as medications may be needed to treat allergies or respiratory conditions that are contributing to the disorder.