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Functional voice problems: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help


These problems are as a direct result of voice misuse or abuse.

Voice Abuse

Common examples include:

  • Excessive or forceful coughing or throat clearing.
  • Poor voice care, for example not drinking enough water, consuming excessive tea ,coffee or alcohol.
  • Constantly placing demands on the voice such as shouting or speaking above background noise.
  • Speaking or Singing when the voice is tired or sore.
  • Whispering to protect the voice-which is just as harmful as shouting.
  • Speaking in a forceful or tense manner.

Continuing to use a poorly voice, using maskers such as throat sweets or sprays which encourage continued use of a poorly voice by the temporary relief they provide.

Voice care

  • Hydrate the voice by drinking enough water aim for 6-8-glasses of still water each day.
  • Inhale steam to relax a tired or sore throat.
  • Lubricate the throat by chewing gum or a chewy sweet or non-medicated pastille.
  • Allow all food and hot drinks to cool before consuming them.
  • Breathe in a relaxed focused and centered manner, avoiding lifting shoulders and upper chest and focus on relaxing the stomach and allowing the abdominal wall to move forward and the rib cage to swing up and sideways as you inhale/breathe in, the reverse as you exhale/breathe out.
  • Allow the voice short a 5 minute period of rest at the end of a busy voice day , and if talking is essential use a gentle voice quality.


Clients referred for voice therapy are referred by an Ear Nose And Throat Surgeon.
Post assessment if therapy is appropriate a block of between 4-6 visits is offered and the below treatment plans would span such a therapy block.