Voice Therapy is so very very hard to do

We take our voice for granted. It's just supposed to wake up every morning and perform like nobody's business. So many clients will say that 'it just happened over night.....this losing my voice, that is', well, no it didn't. You've been on thin ice for quite awhile and it finally 'broke'. It's going to take a major overall some times. Changing one's voice is a monumental make over. But, I'm here to help!

Accent Reduction: I welcome working with a person who is interested in changing their "accent" or the manner of which they speak. It is quite an undertaking. Please feel free to contact me in regards to accent reduction.
What is Vocal Rest? It is NOT whispering. It means finding alternatives to talking ie gestures, head nods, writing, drawing, using spelling board (under Speech Issues), sign language (nothing fancy).
Phlegm Management The underlying cause of a lot of wet gurgly voices out there and folks grinding their vocal folds to cough up the stuff. Phlegm comes from allergies and an accumulation of saliva that has dried up from mouth breathing or dry/unfiltered/cold air getting passed over the back of the throat.
To help with sinus drainage: use a passive/pressure-type netti pot with the salt provided in the packets, NOT table salt.
To help with post-nasal drip drainage from the nose: use saline nasal spray (non-steriodal over the counter type) especially during the night to help keep things more moist
To help with phlegm in the back of the throat: use lemon water. The green bottle and the real thing both act as an astringent to help loosen up the gunk so a lilt-like cough can help bring it up instead of a hard cough that exhausts one and their vocal cords. How much lemon? You decide. I also feel it helps with back of tongue build-up and provides Vitamin C.
Using diluted hydrogen peroxide gargle helps with bad breath as well as clearing phlegm.
Consider a humidifier at the bedside to keep the air moist.
Phlegm Producing Foods: milk-based (ice-cream) and sugar-based (lemon water NOT lemonade). Consider sorbet instead of ice cream and herbal teas, lemon/lime/cucumber/orange in water. Store bought type flavored waters usually contain sugar as a preservative. Consider "eat some, drink some, clear throat some" as a way to alternate liquids/solds through a meal and assure tiny particles are cleared out of the throat area.
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration Coffee is a diuretic; Alcohol is a drying agent. Consider drinking lemon water instead of boring ol' water. Herbal Teas is a very interesting field with all the loose tea types such as those at www.vitaltealeaf.net
Underlying Causes of Voice Challenges

Allergies. There are health professionals that use allergy testing to create drops for a person to take during the day vs the every other week allergy shot. An Ear Nose & Throat physician can use FEES, Fiberoptic Endoscope, to look down at your vocal folds by going through your nose. Ohhhhhh, it's not that bad! Some medication side effects produce dryness which in turn produces phlegm which in turn changes a person's vocal quality. GERD & LPD (a type of GERD where the acid spritzes back up instead of a real bad case but over time, it is just as bad on the vocal folds.

You might investigate sleep apnea, nasal obstructions, and reasons for snoring.
Breath Support

Using one's diaphragm to increase loudness is key to not stressing the vocal folds over time. Learning to relax and increase breath support is a hard concept to grasp but there are several audiotapes and dvd presentations focusing on the breath through Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, Visualization, and Deep Breathing Techniques.

Breath Right strips (purchase the clear ones) help those with deviated septum to breath during the night. Sleep apnea isn't fun, and if surgically repairing the nasal structure isn't in your plans......

Voice Amplification www.luminaud.com has the Spokeman and Radio Shack has something similar but it is a small 'box' that you can hang on your belt or set on a table and turn up its volume and your whisper will be heard as loud as can be.
Verbalizing Strategies take a deep breath and say /ah/ as long as you can. That's how much time you have to talk (really less, but we won't get technical). Speech Therapy can help you self monitor your voice and perhaps change to shorter phrasing or taking breaths mid-sentence in order to assure adequate breath support and reduce strained-strangled vocal quality.
Websites: www.HealFaster.com has a nice tape for visualizing. Yes, the title has something about 'surgery', but you can use this tape to assist with breathing.
Andrew Weil has several good books and cds: www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html
Rodney Lee has some very good tapes on Tai Chi.
Go to the library and interlibrary loan some of Rodney Lee and Dr Weil's tapes and then purchase the ones you find that you like.
How can I help you? It's hard making life style changes; us humans don't change real well. We can do a voice evaluation and put together a plan for you to do as you want.
   

Here are links to my other Speech Issues web pages: