Voice Information



  • Voice is the sound produced by the larynx, commonly referred to as the voice box.  Air passes from the lungs through the larynx when you exhale.  Generally there is no sound made by this simple act of breathing.  By closing the vocal folds, the air passes between them, vibrating the folds and producing voice.
    • A voice disorder is defined as abnormal vocal pitch, loudness, quality or resonance of voice.  Abnormal refers to when the voice calls attention to itself rather than to what the speaker is saying.  It is also a problem if the speaker experiences pain or discomfort when speaking or singing.  The voice can be chronically hoarse, harsh, breathy, or of poor quality.  The voice could be too loud or too soft. The pitch could be inappropriate for the child's age or sex.  The voice could be hyponasal or hypernasal.
    • Cause: There are a variety of causes of voice problems.  Misuse or overuse of the voice, such as talking too loudly or using a pitch level that is too high or too low can result in a voice problem.  Some voice disorders occur due to medical issues such as cancer, reflux, growth on the cords, infection, etc.  People can sustain an injury that causes damage to the larynx and/or vocal folds.  Some voice disorders are related to problems between the nerves and muscles within the larynx.  Other voice disorder causes are unknown.
    • Assessment includes:
      • Pitch
      • Intensity - loudness
      • Quality - hoarseness, roughness, breathiness, tension, tremor, strain
      • Resonance - nasality
      • Effect on communication / education
    • The child with a voice problem must always be seen by an ear, nose and throat doctor for diagnosis before being treated by a speech/language pathologist (SLP), because some voice problems can not be treated by an SLP


  •  In order to qualify for any speech/language services, the speech/language impairment must have an impact on the student's educational performance.