A voice disorder can be defined as a problem involving abnormal pitch, loudness or quality of the sound produced by the larynx, more commonly known as the voice box. Almost every disorder may present in more than one symptom and one cannot associate one single symptom with one specific voice disorder. Severity of the voice symptoms varies according to the disorder and the individual. Voice disorders may be present in both adults and children.
Disease Statistics: Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have trouble using their voices. The prevalence of speech sound disorder in young children is 8 to 9 percent. By the first grade, roughly 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders; the majority of these speech disorders have no known cause. Between 6 and 8 million people in the United States have some form of language impairment.
Treatment: A voice disorder often requires both medical treatment and therapy sessions. A speech-language pathologist is trained in providing voice therapy to individuals with a voice problem. Therapy involves exercises that generally focus on breath support, movement of the vocal cords, resonance of the voice, relaxation of those muscles involved in voice production and posture.
Research: Directions for future research are suggested which maximize clinical outcomes and scientific rigor to enhance knowledge on the efficacy of voice treatment.