Hey there, for those of you that aren’t aware, I have been suffering from chronic laryngitis since May and was referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Which is why things have been so quiet around here lately(!) and probably will be for the foreseeable future. As well as seeing a specialist, my doctor has also recently referred me to speech therapy.
The specialist I saw couldn’t find anything physically wrong with my vocal cords or voice box, yet I still have little voice and some days, no voice at all. He was unsympathetic and didn’t explain what the tests carried out were for or what the results meant – one of the tests involved using a camera through my nostril to have a look at my throat. Which was an awful experience…! After he’d finished he simply stated that he couldn’t find anything. Leaving me to wonder whether that was a good or a bad thing. Upon reflection, I think he meant he couldn’t find anything cancerous.
Because of the poor treatment I received, I asked for a second opinion and I’m now waiting for another consultancy referral. In the meantime, I’m receiving speech therapy with the aim being to strengthen my vocal cords. It’s going to be a long process but my doctors are confident my voice will come back. However, I may have permanent damage to my high vocal cords – no screaming for me then! I had my first appointment last Thursday.
Laryngitis Treatment – My First Experience with Speech Therapy
Walking into my first appointment was nerve-racking as I didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully my Grampy was happy to accompany me to my appointment. My speech therapist was very friendly and put me right at ease. She understood that it was painful to talk so had me write things down if I needed to and had a glass of water on hand for me.
During the appointment, we discussed what treatments would be best for me, from vocal exercises to posture and whether there were any other factors contributing to my voice loss (besides laryngitis). These are the treatments I will be trying over the next few weeks to help strengthen my vocal cords and relieve any tension.
Exercising the neck muscles
My speech therapist suggested exercises such as bringing my chin to my chest and back. Which aims to stretch out the muscles in the neck around the larynx to relieve tension in the area. You can also consider a neck massage.
Posture and body position
Did you know that posture can affect your voice? Neither did I until recently. I know my posture at the moment is terrible; I don’t use the right chair when I’m typing away at the computer and I often slouch. Both of which can have an effect on your ability to breathe or speak.
Vocal exercises, such as humming, can help redistribute the workload to the appropriate vocal muscles as well as strengthen them. For my treatment, my speech therapist suggested I try humming and attempt to hum for longer each time I tried. The humming is definitely helping to strengthen my vocal cords and is a lot easier on my throat than coughing.
Steam inhalations, either by inhaling the steam from a cup of tea or hot water or by putting a towel over your head and inhaling steam from a bowl of boiling water; can both help lubricate your through. Another option would be to purchase a steam inhaler.
So far I’ve been using the cup of tea or hot water and it is certainly helping to lubricate my throat. The more lubricated my throat is the easier talking properly again is becoming.
When your muscles (especially those in your neck) are tense it can affect your voice box. So it is important to try and stay relaxed. However, that may be. For me, I love a relaxing bubble bath or light yoga, but for you, this may be another form of exercise or self-care.
Along with laryngitis, we also discussed any psychological factors that may have caused my loss of speech such as selective mutism or psychogenic voice disorders. She explained that if you’re scared or angry this can cause strain on your vocal cords… Have you ever wanted to say something but decided not too? Commonly referred to as “biting your tongue” – this can cause strain.
Does anyone have experience with speech therapy sessions? Or laryngitis treatments? Let me know in the comments. 🙂