What is a voice disorder?
Voice disorders are medical conditions involving abnormal pitch, loudness or quality of the sound produced by the larynx and thereby affecting speech production.
Chronic voice disorders are fairly common in children. About 4-6 children out of every 100 have a voice disorder.
Children can have many types of voice disorders. Most of them are harmless and are caused by excessive shouting and loud talking, excessive use of certain harsh voice ‘sound effects’ during play, or they can be caused by common childhood infections.
Your child’s voice may sound harsh, hoarse or they may have ‘lost’ their voice entirely. If you are concerned about your child’s voice, please consult a Speech Pathologist.
What are some of the symptoms of a voice disorder?
A voice disorder is when the quality of a person’s voice is noticeably different to that of others their age and sex. People with voice disorders often complain that their voices tire easily or that they have difficulty projecting their voice.
Voice disorders are present in children who:
- have husky voices as a result of incorrect use of their voice
- have harsh or hoarse voices
- pitch that is too high or low
- nasal quality
- have unusual intonation patterns
- use inappropriately loud or soft voices
What causes voice disorders?
- talking or shouting loudly
- talking or shouting excessively
- common childhood infections
- Some children’s voice problems may be related to how they are feeling emotionally or psychologically
There are some rare medical conditions which may cause a child’s voice to change in quality.
- vocal nodules / cysts / polyps
What are some of the effects a voice disorder can have on a child?
A poor voice quality may make it hard for a child to communicate effectively, and may make them lose self confidence or affect the way other people see them.