If you notice your child sometimes has a breathy, hoarse or raspy voice, this could mean that they have damage to their vocal folds. Damaged vocal folds can lead to long-term voice issues that may require therapy or surgery.
Some behaviours that could result in damaged vocal folds include:
- Coughing or frequent throat clearing
- Frequent yelling
- Making sound effects constantly
- Excessive talking
- Speaking loudly
- Excessive whispering
To avoid this, here are a few helpful tips that could ensure your child maintains a healthy voice:
- Staying hydrated – Make sure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration of the vocal folds.
- Remind your child to speak slower and use their ‘normal’ voice
- Remind your child to ‘breathe’ when speaking so that they have adequate breath support
- Reduce your child’s yelling by reminding them to use their ‘inside’ voice to avoid strain.
- Model a healthy voice for your child by speaking at a comfortable volume and avoiding things like speaking too loud, whispering or yelling
If you notice that your child’s voice quality is showing any of the above signs, it is important to consult your GP or receive a referral for a Speech Language Pathologist so that your child receives the appropriate assessment and treatment.