Behavioral Treatment: Voice Rest & Voice Therapy
Most vocal fold lesions are directly or indirectly related to the stresses placed on the vocal folds from voice use, known as phonotrauma. This means that changes in vocal behavior are usually a very important part of treatment.
Voice rest is the most basic behavioral change. Total voice rest refers to no voice use at all, whereas relative voice rest refers to limited voice use. Voice use may be limited in amount, in volume or under certain conditions, such as noisy environments. It is important to discuss the terms of relative voice rest with your physician or voice therapist in detail, as some behaviors which are commonly thought to be helpful, like whispering, are in fact counterproductive.
Voice rest by itself does not fundamentally change any voice behaviors. Rather, it just gives the vocal folds some ‘time off.’ Therefore, voice rest does not address any underlying problems in a given condition, but does allow healing of a temporary condition.
Voice rest is commonly used in:
Voice therapy aims to change harmful vocal behaviors. It consists of both education and exercises. These are aimed at correcting generally harmful vocal behaviors as well as the specific behaviors and conditions that have created the problem being treated. Voice therapy is administered by a speech-language pathologist with a special competence in voice.
Disorders in which voice therapy is usually helpful are: