Voice Problems

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What to expect

Voice problems

Voice is the sound caused by the vibration of your vocal cords, when air passes through the voice box (larynx). A voice problem will occur when there is a problem with the mechanism which produces voice.

What is a voice problem?

A voice problem is a difficulty in producing voice effectively or ‘normally' in order to communicate. There are many different severities and symptoms of voice problems and these can be caused by a variety of different factors. Voice problems will mainly affect adults but can also affect children.

The main symptom of a voice problem is experiencing a change in your normal voice quality. Different symptoms and changes in voice quality can include:

  • Hoarse voice.
  • Voice sounding rough or raspy.
  • A weak voice quality.
  • Changes in the pitch of your voice.
  • Complete loss of voice.
  • A sharp or dull pain when using your voice.
  • Repeated throat clearing.
  • Feeling as it is more effort when talking.

What conditions can cause voice problems?

There are many conditions and factors which can cause voice problems in both children and adults. Conditions in children and adults which can cause voice problems include:


  • Neurological problems
  • Physical difficulties
  • Voice disorders


  • Neurological problems
  • Voice problems
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Physical disabilities
  • Mental health problems

ow is a voice problem diagnosed?

A voice problem will usually be diagnosed by an ear, nose and throat specialist and a speech and language therapist. An initial assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will help to determine whether an individual has a voice problem and also the severity of their problem. The ear, nose and throat specialist and speech and language therapist will work together to identify the exact cause of the voice problem. The initial assessment will help to determine what the best method of treatment will be for each individual.

How can speech and language therapy help with voice problems?

Speech and language therapy can help to support and treat individuals with voice problems. The aim of speech and language therapy will be to maximise the individual's communicative ability.

The cause and severity of the voice problem will determine what type of treatment will be given by the speech and language therapist. The speech and language therapist will work closely with the individual, their carer(s) and other professionals involved in the individual's care regarding the individual's speech, language and communication needs.

What speech and language therapy treatment can benefit voice problems?

There are various types of speech and language therapy treatment which can benefit individuals with voice problems. The speech and language therapist will deliver an individualised treatment programme for each individual, depending on their specific speech, language and communication needs and also the underlying cause of their voice problem.

Different types of speech and language therapy treatment which are available for individuals with voice problems include:

One to one therapy

One to one therapy will involve the therapist and the individual (and their carer or parent). One to one therapy will work on specific areas of communication the individual is finding difficult and also areas they feel are a priority to work on in therapy. For an individual with comprehension problems, the therapist may work on increasing the individual's understanding of spoken and written words, sentences and also conversation and paragraphs.

Find out more about one to one therapy.

Group therapy

Group therapy will usually involve a group of individuals with similar communicative abilities. Group therapy can help in increasing the individual's motivation, social skills and also help to generalise the skills learnt in one to one therapy. Parent and carer groups may also be carried out to help support the parents and carers in supporting the individual's comprehension problems.

Find out more about group therapy.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication

Alternative and augmentative forms of communication may also be used for individuals with very limited and restricted understanding. Alternative forms of communication will help to support an individual's understanding and help them to communicate to the best of their ability. Alternative forms of communication may include visual aids, sign language and also computer aids.

Find out more about Alternative and Augmentative Communication.

Speech and language therapy may also include the following:

  • Assessments
  • School visits
  • Clinic visits
  • Home visits
  • Reports
  • Review
  • Early intervention

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?

To arrange an initial assessment with one of our speech and language therapists then please contact us on 0330 0885 643.


A comprehension problem is a difficulty in understanding verbal, non-verbal and written forms of communication. An individual with a comprehension problem will have difficulty in communicating effectively with others. The speech and language therapist will aim to increase the individual's understanding and maximising their communicative ability. If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy, then please contact us by emailing office@slt.co.uk or calling 0330 0885 643.

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Next steps

To speak to a Speech and Language Therapist or to book an appointment, call us on 0161 883 0111 or email office@slt.co.uk


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All our speech and language therapists are registered with the RCSLT and the HCPC

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