Voice Skills

by Judy Apps

Professional help

If public speaking is going to be a major part of your job, or if you have particular problems with your voice, you may feel that you need some professional help.

Where can I find a voice coach?

Voice coaching includes a broad spectrum of activities, from teaching singing to therapeutic spoken voice work, and practitioners come with a variety of qualifications and skills. If you want voice help from an expert, be aware that there are various disciplines that cover the voice, and know what you are getting!

A voice coach may well have an actor’s training; if so, make sure that you are learning how to be authentic as well as developing your ability to create an impact.

Alternatively, a voice coach may have a singing background. In this case, make sure that he or she understands the spoken voice well.

Voice therapists

A voice therapist will help you avoid potential damage to your voice and teach you to produce your voice more effectively. A voice therapist is not usually there to help you to communicate with more impact.

It is a good idea to find someone who comes recommended, and to ask if you can have a preliminary session to see if there is a good fit before signing up to a series of sessions.

Medical help

For most voice problems, your doctor will be your first point of call. Any hoarseness, breathiness, voice fading or pain that persists after a week or so should be reported to your doctor and investigated.

Often, a voice problem is a symptom of a wider health problem that the doctor can address. Your doctor can arrange blood tests, X-rays and so on and can refer you to an ENT specialist or to a voice clinic to have your vocal cords checked out.

Voice clinics

When available, voice clinics have a team that includes an ENT surgeon, a speech therapist, and possibly an osteopath, physiotherapist, and even a singing advisor and a psychologist.

A biopsy is often carried out to examine the vocal cords, and then surgery can remove damaged vocal tissue if necessary. If the voice problem relates to the way you use your voice, you can have therapy from a speech therapist, a singing advisor or a physiotherapist or osteopath.

For useful websites, see Want to know more?