How we can help people with dysphonia

Dysphonia is the term used for a disorder of the voice. It is an inability to produce sounds using the vocal organs. People suffering from dysphonia can either have a very hoarse, rough voice or soft, breathy voice. Phonation (sound produced from the vocal cords) is still possible. If phonation is not possible, this would be known as aphonia.

Speech and language therapy is beneficial for individuals with dysphonia and can improve a client’s vocal quality and help them to develop coping strategies and management of their dysphonia.

What is dysphonia?

Dysphonia is a disorder of the voice. Dysphonia is typically caused by impairment of the vocal folds which leads to them not being able to vibrate as they should. If the vocal cords are not closing properly, this will interrupt the airflow used to make certain speech sounds. This interruption will lead to jerky, laboured speech. Vocal spasms can also be a cause and will separate the vocal cords and lead to a breathy quality in the voice.

What causes dysphonia?

There are many different causes of dysphonia which can range from mild, for example; after a cold, to more severe cases. Below is a list of the most common causes of dysphonia:

What problems caused by dysphonia can SLT UK help with?

Speech and language therapy can help with problems with voice, speech sounds and communication.

By working on these areas, a client can develop coping strategies to overcome dysphonia and improve their vocal quality.

How does speech and language therapy help dysphonia?

Speech and language therapy can be extremely beneficial for patients with dysphonia. Speech and language therapy can improve a client’s vocal quality and help them to develop coping strategies and management of their dysphonia. This may result in a client becoming more confident and therefore more fluent and clear in their production of speech.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for dysphonia involve?

Speech and language therapy may include assessments, reviews, reports, therapy programmes, training, advice, education and support groups.

Specific treatment for dysphonia includes voice therapy.

An initial assessment will be carried out by one of our speech and language therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties concerning the voice and communication. It will also provide a chance for you to share any concerns you may have, and allow you to discuss what you would like to work on and improve.


Dysphonia is a disorder of the voice and can be managed with speech and language therapy. Vocal fold damage is usually to blame; however there are many other causes, ranging from mild to severe.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 088 5643.

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