By Lin Parkin
August 26, 2013
Keeping the voice healthy is priority one for working voice actors or anyone who uses their voice to make a living.
We do everything we can to keep our voices healthy but there are some things in life that cause unavoidable change in the sound of our voices and our ability to communicate. Pregnancy, weight gain or loss, and aging will cause the vocal resonance to change.
However, neurological disorders have a more permanent effect on the ability to control speech and articulate words.
We often take for granted the ability to speak normally. It seems like the most natural thing to do to simply open your mouth and talk but the mechanics of speech production require precise muscular coordination of the voice box, throat, palate, jaw, tongue, and lips.
Many vocal and communication issues are the result of neurological disorders due to abnormalities of the brain or nerves in the body. These abnormalities result in impaired control of the muscles of the voice box which causes a variety of voice and speech problems.
There are a number of neurological conditions that affect the voice. These include:
Many of those suffering with degenerative neurological diseases are not referred to laryngologists or other voice specialists because the medical community has traditionally believed that voice improvements could not be achieved with progressive conditions.
Using text-to-speech technology is one option, however, it is becoming more recognized that during the patients' life expectancy, and especially if prognosis improves, having the ability to communicate effectively using their own voices is critical to their quality of life.
According to the Washington Voice Consortium, there are many minimally-invasive treatments that currently exist to treat both vocal fold spasms, such as Botox, and vocal fold weakness by using injection laryngoplasty or medialization laryngoplasty.
Speech Pathologists may also be able help a patient suffering with neurological conditions significantly improve their speech, voice, as well as their ability to swallow.
For more information on getting help for speech conditions visit: http://www.voiceproblem.org/index.php
©iStockphoto.com/Minerva StudioRelated Topics: ALS, neurological conditions, Parkinson's disease, speech, throat, vocal health
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