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Vocal Disorders Program
Northwest Hospitalís Vocal Disorders/Vocal Image Program helps individuals who face voice challenges. Licensed speech language pathologists can help you improve your voice, learn good vocal habits, retrain the use of your voice and teach you strategies to avoid voice misuse.
Many voice problems occur from misusing the voice, such as cheering until you get hoarse, talking too loudly or using too-high or too-low a pitch when you speak. Improper breathing patterns and smoking may also cause voice problems.
Continued vocal abuse can damage the vocal folds and cause temporary or permanent damage in vocal function and voice quality, as well as possible loss of voice. Diseases such as cancer, Parkinsonís disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrigís disease), multiple sclerosis or stroke may also cause changes in the voice.
Our program includes:
- Information about the anatomy and function of the voice system: how sound is made, the difference between voice and speech, and how loudness and pitch are controlled
- Training on breathing, relaxation and vocal exercises
- Education and training to change behavior and keep the voice production system healthy
- Techniques to maximize the quality of your voice
- Reference materials
We use a computerized voice analysis system called SonaSpeech to perform a voice assessment and provide real-time feedback during your therapy. We will determine a baseline of the voice that includes pitch, volume, voice quality, rate and inflection patterns. Patients learn how these voice parameters affect the way their voice is perceived by others and how to modify parameters to maximize communication effectiveness. Baseline results are used to measure progress.
During therapy, patients are able listen to their voices and see a visual representation of the voice they just produced. Their actual voice is compared to the desired voice they are working to achieve.
Physician referral is required. Call 206-368-1848 for more information.