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Voice Therapy and Training

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At the UPMC Voice Center, we offer voice therapy and training. This patient-centered treatment method can help change behaviors that contribute to voice disorders or limit normal voice use.

We can change vocal behaviors causing hoarseness in two major ways:

  • Rigorous application of vocal wellness principles.
  • A series of techniques to change the way the vocal folds vibrate and vocal tract resonates.

What to Expect from Voice Therapy

The purpose and goals of voice therapy are to help you:

  • Develop an awareness of the “new” voice.
  • Discern the “new” voice from the “old” voice.
  • Integrate this modified voice quality into conversational speech in an automatic and consistent manner, without conscious use of the voice therapy technique.

We can treat common voice disorders — such as vocal nodules or muscle tension dysphonia — in three to five sessions, with a very high success rate.

Types of Voice Therapy and Training

Singing voice therapy

This type of vocal rehab is for people who have a health condition that causes problems in the singing voice.

A singing voice specialist (SVS) conducts this therapy. An SVS is an experienced singing teacher with further training in the rehabilitation of injured voices.

The singing exercises vary, based on your unique laryngeal pathology and singing style. All aim to modify muscular coordination by optimizing airflow and vocal resonance.

Cough suppression therapy

This treatment for chronic cough involves a series of ways to decrease the severity, duration, and frequency.

The first step is to help you recognize the signs and symptoms of a cough so that you can try to suppress it.

The rest of therapy involves teaching you how to:

  • Modify the shape of your throat to decrease the severity, duration, and frequency of chronic cough.
  • Coordinate and relax the respiratory mechanism and head/neck region.
  • Systematically desensitize yourself from potential triggers.

Most people need between one and three sessions.

Respiratory retraining

This treatment for paradoxical vocal fold motion disorder (PVFMD) helps you learn how to control your breathing and prevents, or minimizes the severity of, PVFMD “attacks.”

The keys to therapy for PVFMD include:

  • Muscle relaxation.
  • Training an open throat breathing posture.
  • Retraining the breath cycle to increase your awareness of relaxed rhythmic cycles.
  • Reducing the effort it takes to breathe.

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment®

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment is a proven speech treatment program for people with Parkinson's disease (PD). It helps restore oral communication beyond what current medicines and surgical interventions can offer.

At the UPMC Voice Center, we provide a modified version of this program that focuses on:

  • Increasing vocal loudness.
  • Enhancing sensory awareness of disordered movement parameters.
  • “Re-calibrating” the sensorimotor system for appropriate movement dynamics.

At the end of one month of individual treatment, most people are able to self-generate improved loudness. This results in dramatically improved functional communication.

Transgendered voice and communication services

Transgendered individuals often need to work harder — and sometimes need guidance — to communicate an ‘outward’ self that is congruent with the ‘inner’ self.

The UPMC Voice Center provides voice and communication masculinization and feminization training for people along the gender spectrum.

Make an Appointment at the Voice Center

To make an appointment or learn more about any of our services, contact the UPMC Voice Center at 412-232-SING (7464).

Learn More About Voice Disorders

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From our Health Library:

From the Voice Foundation:

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