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Voice Therapy and Training

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.

Parkinson’s Voice Therapy

SPEAK OUT!®

SPEAK OUT!® is the first step in a two-part speech therapy program. SPEAK OUT!® typically consists of twelve individual speech therapy sessions conducted by a speech-language pathologist. Together, the patient and the speech-language pathologist work their way through a series of speech, voice, and cognitive exercises outlined in a comprehensive workbook provided to every patient in the U.S. as a gift from Parkinson Voice Project, a nonprofit organization in Richardson, Texas. Each therapy session lasts 40-45 minutes. The primary goals of SPEAK OUT!® are to strengthen the muscles used for speaking and swallowing and to teach patients how to speak with intent. Once patients complete SPEAK OUT!®, they transition to the second part of the program called The LOUD Crowd®.

The LOUD Crowd®

Upon completion of SPEAK OUT!®, each patient enters the maintenance phase of the two-part therapy program. Since Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative condition, maintaining the strength of one’s voice can be a challenge. People with Parkinson's often struggle with motivation as a result of the lack of dopamine in the brain. This maintenance program consists of speech therapy groups to help patients maintain the strength of their voices. The LOUD Crowd® provides ongoing vocal practice, accountability, support, and encouragement. By participating in LOUD Crowd®, patients have been shown to maintain their SPEAK OUT!® results for more than five years and counting.

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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