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Teen Male with High Pitched Voice

Janet Skotko M.Ed., CCC-SLP

January 16, 2006

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Question

A 17 year old male student has been referred to me for a very high pitched voice. He has been home schooled until this year and has not received therapy in the past. He is able to achieve a lower pitch, but says he cannot maintain it and it is painful. I

Answer

I'm sure for an 17 yr old male having a high pitched voice feels just 'wrong' if not feeling 'wronged' by mother nature! As you know, pain is the warning sign of the vocal folds and MUST be acknowledged. The referral to an ENT is the only first good responsible move; a 2nd might be to offer him support during the wait and to help HIM understand that 1st knowing the 'why' is invaluable. I think that too often in our need to do something we forget the basic premise in the health fields: FIRST DO NO HARM. To do anything right now that permits this young man to feel laryngeal pain is quite possibly to actually do harm! More often than not, when this is explained, client and parents, etc., understand and support you. Just as there are places for silence and pauses in speaking and in life, there are times in therapy to proceed carefully, which may seem like a pause or silence to you. To those who read this,I want to remind us all before proceeding with treatments: FIRST DO NO HARM.

Janet Y. Skotko is the sole proprietor of The Voice Institute in Tampa, Florida and has been an SLP for over 25 years. She is also one of the inaugural cadre of Board Recognized Fluency Specialists. Janet can be reached at Voice580@aol.com. Her website is: www.thevoiceinstitute.com .

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