Manuel Lora, specialist in diagnosis, prevention and treatment of language disorders, talks about a very common pathology to be treated by speech therapists, dysphonia. The voice in its general concept integrates a wide set of associations, intrinsically linked to the personality of each individual, because it is the representation of their affections and sensitivities, as well as the reflection of their physiological and psychological individuality.
What is dysphonia?
The voice has some basic parameters such as intensity and volume, pitch (measured in frequencies), resonance and timbre (parameter that individualizes the voice of each person). All these parameters vary according to the anatomical characteristics of each person. The alteration of some of these parameters or all of them together produces dysphonia, which affects different population groups regardless of gender: professionals whose work tool is the voice, children or population at risk due to their environment or life habits.
How does dysphonia appear?
Dysphonia has different etiologies:
- On the one hand those originated by autogenous laryngeal trauma (nodules, polyps, edema, contact ulcers, laryngitis, laryngeal keratosis, leukoplakia etc.) and by mechanical trauma (chordal hypotonia, destruction of the middle or lower zone of the larynx, band voice etc.
- On the other hand, functional dysphonias (laryngeal hyper- or hypofunction, phonastenia, psychogenic dysphonias, puberphonia, spastic dysphonias, etc.).
- A special section is devoted to chordal palsies, laryngotomies and dysarthrias, both because of their etiology and because of their dimension when it comes to rehabilitating patients.
What is the treatment for dysphonia?
Treatments must be based on an extensive anamnesis and a good diagnosis that ENT specialists and speech therapists must each make in their respective fields (pharmacological, surgical and rehabilitative).
The speech therapist’s praxis mainly includes the analysis of the voice parameters and their rehabilitation so that the patient’s voice in its new situation is functional to his needs and to a good quality of life. It is necessary to create ecomapas of intervention where each patient experiences confidence in the treatment and in the professional with whom he/she will work, also involving the family and social environments, where he/she should be aware of the importance of a good vocal hygiene that reinforces the rehabilitation treatment. The empathy that develops between patient and speech therapist must be the transversal element that integrates the entire rehabilitation process to achieve the objectives successfully. For more information, consult a Speech Therapy specialist.