- Do you offer online consultations?
Yes, we are offering online consultations although in usual times we prefer to see you in person first. During this COVID period, most appointments will be conducted online as per Safer Care Victoria guidelines. https://www.bettersafercare.vic.gov.au/resources/tools/allied-health-and-telehealth-guidance
We are only currently offering face-to-face appointments if we deem it urgent and according to current policy and recommendations provided by Speech Pathology Australia. https://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au
- Do I need to see a Doctor first?
All people with a voice or related laryngeal disorder where there is potential for pathology or a medical condition and/or a medical contribution to their problem should be seen by a medical physician.
In most cases this is an ENT Specialist but the type of doctor and whether this is necessary will vary depending on the nature of your throat concerns or vocal needs.
- Do you work with children?
Yes, we see people of all ages (other than infants) but only for throat-related concerns. We do not offer assessment or management of paediatric articulation, fluency or language disorders as our primary expertise is in working with children with voice and/or resonance concerns.
- Why see a speech pathologist for my cough? I can talk properly.
Many coughs occur as a result of laryngeal dysfunction and as speech pathologists we have a special expertise in assessing and managing laryngeal disorders.
Management of cough may include desensitisation, identification and reduction of contributors and triggers and the promotion of improved throat postures to decrease cough symptoms.
- Why see a speech pathologist for my breathing issue? I can talk properly.
Breathing issues can occur due to problems with the functioning of the vocal folds during breathing (known as vocal fold dysfunction-VCD or inducible laryngeal obstruction ILO). As speech pathologists we have a special expertise in assessing and managing laryngeal disorders.
Management of VCD may include desensitisation, identification and reduction of contributors and triggers and the promotion of improved throat postures to help airflow without interference and to decrease breathlessness and throat tightness symptoms.
- Aren’t all speech pathologists able to work with voice?
Yes, but at VMA we have a primary focus and experience working with this population. Like laryngology-oriented ENTs, Speech Pathologists who sub-specialise in voice care provide more incisive, tailored treatment for voice disorders than most general Speech Pathologists who care for patients with other speech, language and swallowing problems.
- Do you work with people who don’t sing or use their voice professionally?
Yes, we work with all voice-users. Whether you use your voice for occupational, artistic, recreational, personal or for social purposes, we aim to improve your voice to optimise vocal success in all activities. The primary aim of voice therapy is to improve voice production and optimise function across the domains of impairment, activity, participation and psychosocial wellbeing whatever your vocal needs.
- What will the speech pathologist do in my session to help my voice?
The Speech Pathologist will likely give you general advice on looking after your voice, as well as design an exercise program tailored specifically for you and your specific diagnosis. Most importantly, a Speech Pathologist looks at the way that you are using your voice and ensures that you are voicing efficiently.
For example, you may be given:
1) Some exercises and strategies to improve vocal endurance, or
2) recommendations may be made as to how to better manage your vocal load at work, and the Speech Pathologist may liaise with your workplace if you so desire.
Speech Pathologists are usually involved in your recovery from vocal fold surgery.
- How long will I need to see the speech pathologist?
The amount of therapy sessions that you will require depends on the severity of your voice or other throat or speech problem, however generally clients attend from 1-5 sessions.
The Speech Pathologists at Voice Medicine Australia work alongside your ENT Specialist and/or other team members such as singing teachers to improve the quality of your voice and maximise vocal efficiency and endurance, taking your occupation and daily vocal load into consideration.
- How prevalent are voice problems?
Virtually everyone at some stage over a one-year period will experience a ‘croaky” throat whether due to a cold, fatigue or something more serious or long lasting. Whether this becomes a problem, usually depends on the severity, duration, how much you depend on your voice for social and vocational purposes and your reaction to the symptoms.
1/3 of performers experience some significant problem with their voice over a one-year period, frequently requiring them to cancel a performance or to give a sub-standard performance.
High risk groups are those who use their voices a lot or those who use their voices incorrectly or those who use the extremes of their voice without relief. Commonly this includes: teachers, auctioneers, barristers, fitness and dance instructors, performers, spruikers, sales representatives, telephonists/ call centre operators, clergy and children (yellers, choristers).
- Do you offer mentoring and professional development for speech pathologists?
Yes, we offer webinars, workshops, 1:1 mentoring and membership to VMA connect.