How Speech Therapy Can Help You

Author: Lindsey Ulrich

"Speech exercises can help train the brain to understand words and gestures and improve concentration and information processing."



Communication, moods, and feelings are all conveyed by our voices, which is why it can be alarming if you are experiencing changes in your speech. There are many reasons why your voice can change, whether it’s from aging or health-related issues. Speech therapy can help regain your voice.

Speech therapy assesses and treats speech disorders and communication problems,” said Meghan Yates, a speech-language pathologist at McLaren Greater Lansing. “Speech exercises can help train the brain to understand words and gestures, and improve concentration and information processing.”  

Speech therapy is a broad term that encompasses a range of therapies including voice therapy, which addresses problems with the vocal cord. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably.

“Voice disorders can be caused by a wide variety of things, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, head and neck cancer, or neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” said Yates. “If you are experiencing voice problems, it is highly recommended that you consult with your doctor to further address the problems you are experiencing. Depending on the diagnosis, speech therapy can be recommended to provide treatment.”

Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States experience a stroke. Data has shown stroke survivors can often experience speech impairment such as aphasia, a condition affecting the ability to understand or process language.

A speech-language pathologist will evaluate you and create a program tailored specifically to the problems you are experiencing. Speech therapy may include exercises such as:

  • Breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Posture improvement
  • Vocal warm-ups and mouth and jaw movement

“Your treatment will be dependent on your diagnosis,” said Yates. “Some common procedures expected at the session may be establishing appropriate vocal hygiene routines, capitalizing on strengths and addressing weaknesses relating to underlying structures, and functions that affect voice production, improving self-awareness of voice quality, and introducing strengthening exercises.”

Having good oral hygiene helps prevent infections in the mouth, throat, and lungs. It is important to keep yourself hydrated, avoid smoking or being around secondhand smoke, and rest your voice frequently to keep your vocal cords healthy.

McLaren offers complete physical, occupational, and speech therapy services at their new state-of-the-art facility located at the Health and Wellness Pavilion. For more information about McLaren Greater Lansing rehabilitation services, click here. 

In need of care? Click here to view providers who are accepting new patients.

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