Your voice is a vibration produced by your vocal cords coming together. Most of us take our voices and vocal cord function for granted. Following a stroke, disorders lead to disabling conditions often making you go unheard and interfere with communication.
After a stroke, you may experience:
Vocal cord dysfunction (vocal cord spasms cutting off air supply)
Vocal cord weakness and paralysis
Voice and Vocal Cord Assessment
Voice therapy begins with an assessment by a speech-language pathologist. Your voice is recorded to measure acoustics, such as pitch and loudness, then analyzed and compared with normal voices.
Scopes may be used to evaluate vocal cord integrity and function. Using a scope with a halogen light and a strobe light, your therapists can see differences in your vocal cords’ structure and movement.
A nasometer may be used in your evaluation. The device has a specialized headset designed to measure the airflow through your nose, rather than through your mouth, when speaking.
Once assessed, your speech pathologist may recommend therapy.
Voice and Vocal Cord Treatment
After your diagnosis, relaxation, strengthening, and breathing techniques often take care of a lot of voice problems. Vocal hygiene is important to recovery, too. You’ll need to drink enough water and not misuse your voice by yelling or repeatedly clearing your throat.
As many stroke patients experience weakness on one side of their body, the vocal cords may also be affected. Your Mary Free Bed therapist teaches you strengthening exercises, while also ensuring that you're using the correct muscles and not straining your voice. Breathing techniques and respiratory training are also important for ongoing success.
Your speech therapist may treat you by helping you modify the way you talk. You’ll learn to change the way you use air flow and how to relax your muscles so your voice comes from a more natural place.
Often, in just 4-6 sessions, enough progress occurs that you’re released from the program. However, length of treatment for voice and vocal cord disorders does vary.
Contact the Voice Program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
For more information or to make a referral, please contact Mary Free Bed's Voice Program at:
616.242.0366 or 800.668.6001
Outpatient Therapy Center
350 Lafayette SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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