Trust Your Little Voice - Hearing and Speech Agency

Trust Your Little Voice

If you happened upon my Professional Chatterboxes blog from a few days ago, you may have noticed that I omitted a pretty big population that is at-risk for developing voice disorders. That population is children. Granted, this omission was on purpose, because I felt that the pediatric population deserved its own blog.

Similar to adults, voice disorders in children can be acquired from consistent phonotrauma like shouting, screaming, or consistent coughing and throat clearing. They can be secondary to medical conditions such as upper respiratory infections or laryngitis. Additionally, voice disorders can result from structural or functional differences related to congenital conditions such as Cerebral palsy, Cleft Palate, and Down Syndrome.

So, as a parent, what should you be looking out for? Many caregivers that I’ve encountered refer to their parental instincts as “the little voice inside their head”. I encourage parents to trust that little voice to help guide them through difficult decisions when it comes to their child’s medical, academic, and communication concerns.

If you have worries about your child’s voice, consider the following:

  • Is your child complaining of any throat pain?
  • Have you noticed a change in how your child’s voice sounds (harsh, hoarse, breathy)?
  • Does your child use a pitch that seems too high or low? -Does your child scream often or have a loud speaking voice?
  • Is your child difficult to understand because air is escaping through their nose when they speak?

Your pediatrician can refer you to an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor, who will be able to determine if there is any damage to your child’s vocal mechanism. Depending upon this assessment, it may be recommended that your child see a Speech-Language Pathologist. SLPs can collaborate with ENTs to determine the best treatment plan, related to vocal health, tension, resonance, pitch, and volume.

So trust that little voice in your head... It may help your child’s.

Sara Frederick is a speech-language pathologist at The Hearing and Speech Agency

Hearing and Speech AgencyHarry and Jeanette Weinberg Building 5900 Metro Drive Baltimore, MD 21215 410.318.6780