Hospital’s therapists get vocal about World Voice Day
Speech and language therapists at Northwick Park Hospital will be taking patients and staff on a very special tour as part of World Voice Day on 16 April 2009.
They will be giving people a tour of the larynx using videos at their information stands at the hospital to demonstrate how voices work and how people can care for their voices.
Speech and language therapist, Claire Wells, said: “The theme for World Voice Day this year is ‘invest in your voice’ and we will be reminding everyone of the importance of keeping their voice healthy.
“So many of us take our voices for granted and don’t realise just how important it is to look after it – after all it is the main way so many of us communicate both in terms of work and socially.”
Around 1.5 million people in the UK do not have this luxury and suffer from a voice disorder. In spite of this, those with voice disorders face low levels of understanding and support, particularly compared to other major disabilities.
Claire and her team play an important part in helping people overcome their voice difficulties.
Claire added: “Some of the main factors contributing to voice disorders come from direct trauma to the voice box, vocal abuse, and over use of the voice. All of which strain the muscles of the larynx causing hoarseness. Many of our patients can also have associated discomfort in the throat.
“All our patients require an examination by an ear, nose and throat doctor before we see them for treatment. At Northwick Park Hospital we run a nationally recognised voice clinic where patients are taught the general principals of optimising vocal care, breath support and how to reduce excessive tension in the voice muscles enabling freer more comfortable voice production.”
One patient benefitting from the expertise of the speech therapy department at Northwick Park Hospital is Mr Bharat Mistry, a computer programmer who had been unknowingly suffering with a voice condition for more than 10 years.
Bharat said: “My voice would break and I would loose my composure during conversations and reading stories to my son. My condition was diagnosed when I went in for a nasal operation last year and doctors noticed I had polyps on my vocal chords that had been caused by straining my voice.
“I was then referred to the speech therapy department who have been teaching me vocal exercises to reduce the strain on my voice. I am now several months into the treatment and able to read to my son with out my voice breaking frequently.
“The therapy has made me realise that this has been a problem for me for many years and now I have the skills to work at improving and relaxing my voice”.
For more information regarding voice disorders and how to care for your voice, go to:
www.british-voice-association.com or www.lary.org.uk