Hoarse voice

How we can help people with hoarse voice

Hoarse voice is the term used to describe an abnormal change in voice quality. People with a hoarse voice may experience changes in pitch or volume. Different words are used to describe these changes including; rough, raspy, creaky, breathy. Hoarse voice can be caused by a variety of conditions.

Speech and language therapy is beneficial for individuals with hoarse voice and can improve a client’s vocal quality and help with management of vocal hygiene.

What is hoarse voice?

Hoarse voice is an impairment in voice quality and occurs when there is an abnormal change to an individual's voice. The voice may be altered in pitch usually lower than usual and may be altered in volume if it becomes either louder or quieter than usual.

Hoarseness is due to something altering the vocal folds so that they are unable to vibrate against each other effectively. Our vocal folds need to be able to close fully and periodically in order for us to produce voice effectively.

What causes hoarse voice?

Hoarse voice can be caused by the normal ageing process but can occur at any time due to poor vocal hygiene. Professional voice users may also experience hoarse voice due to overuse of the voice. Hoarse voice is usually a symptom of another voice disorder, below is a list of voice problems that may cause hoarse voice:

How does speech and language therapy help hoarse voice?

Many of the causes of hoarse voice are not serious and can usually be solved with advice or intervention from a speech and language therapist. Speech and language therapy can be extremely beneficial for patients with hoarse voice. Speech and language therapy can improve a client’s vocal quality and help them to develop coping strategies to manage their hoarse voice. This may result in a client becoming more confident in their production of speech.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for hoarse voice involve?

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

Specific treatment for hoarse voice includes voice therapy.

Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT) is a therapy technique used by fully trained speech and language therapists that aims to increase the volume and quality of a patient's voice, this programme is designed for individuals with Parkinson’s disease as this condition commonly leads to changes in the quality of voice, including hoarse voice.

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.


Hoarse voice is a disorder of voice quality and can be improved with speech and language therapy. Poor vocal hygiene 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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