Because a child who misuses or abuses his/her voice can develop vocal nodules which will make their voice sound hoarse and raspy. If your child continues to push their voice despite the hoarseness, they can eventually lose their voice which is a condition called aphonia. Your child will be very frustrated at this point.
What is happening?
Your child can develop hoarseness, raspiness, or even lose his/her voice secondary to the following:
- Yelling and screaming in sports or at home for attention
- Extreme, habitual crying
- Inhalers for asthma
- Talking too low for their age and gender
- Incessant talking
What Should I Do To Help My Child?
If your child has a prolonged (2-3 weeks) episode of hoarseness/raspiness/laryngitis and he/she has not been sick with a cold or sinusitis, you need to have your child examined by an otorhinolaryngologist (ENT). If your child has vocal nodules (benign lesions on the vocal folds), your ENT will recommend a course of speech therapy.
Why Should My Child See a Speech-Language Pathologist?
A child is referred for a speech evaluation because he/she needs education regarding how to take care of his or her voice. Most of us take the sound of our voice for granted until our voice does not sound like it normally sounds. Everyone could benefit from instruction regarding taking good care of the voice. We call this vocal hygiene. This therapy is typically education for the child and parents and takes place over a few weeks of therapy.
Our voices are as unique as our finger print. It pays to take good care of the voice so that we can communicate clearly and confidently. Your child is no exception!