The Treatment of Voice Disorders
Voice disorders account for only approximately ten or fifteen percent of the speech correctionist's cases, but they are frequently the most difficult of all problems. The reasons for this difficulty are, no doubt, the lack of research, the complexity of the problem, and the fact that such cases have usually been treated by elocution and singing teachers rather than by members of the medical or speech-correction professions. The literature is very scanty and very scattered. Except for certain occupations such as the ministry, teaching, and entertaining, the average voice defect is not a handicap, since communication is still possible, a factor which does not hold true in stuttering or articulatory difficulties.
As we have said, there are almost as many names for voice disorders as there are adjectives to describe the voice, but in general they may be classified as disorders of pitch, intensity, and voice quality. Frequently any one case will be defective in more than one of these aspects, but for clearness of presentation we shall consider them according to the above classification.
Need for medical coöperation in diagnosis. Many of the voice disorders are medical problems, and the speech correctionist must always keep this in mind. Much harm can be done by administering vocal training to a case whose disorder is due to active pathology or organic abnormalities.