Keeping Your Voice In Shape

You have noticed that your child’s voice is hoarse, not clear, or weak.  He may even “lose” his voice on occasion.

This voice problem may be explained by the presence of vocal abuse or misuse.  These include the following:
  • Yelling
  • Talking loudly
  • Talking without taking a break
  • Speaking when there is excessive background noise (e.g. talking over the noise of the television or the radio)
  • Clearing your throat regularly
  • Altering your voice or imitating sounds frequently when playing 
  • Whispering
  • Singing in an abusive fashion (e.g. singing too loudly, too long, or altering his voice excessively)
Here are some suggestions that could help your child keep his voice in shape:
  • Decrease environmental noise (e.g. turn off the television during mealtimes).
  • Encourage your child to be at your side when speaking to you rather than yelling from one room to another.
  • Encourage your child to drink the equivalent of two glasses of water per day by taking small sips throughout the day. Also encourage your child to take a sip of water instead of clearing his throat.
  • After an activity wherein your child yelled or spoke a lot, encourage him to participate in a “quiet” activity where he does not speak for 15 to 20 minutes (e.g. watching TV, reading, drawing).
  • Ask your child to avoid whispering in class.
  • Provide a good voice model for your child by not yelling or talking too loudly in his presence.
If you and your child make the effort to keep his voice in shape, this could help improve his voice quality.  When you will meet the speech-language pathologist for your child’s voice evaluation, she will be able to give more specific recommendations and answer your questions.

Should you notice a significant and persistent decline in your child’s voice quality, please do not hesitate to contact our department at the following number: 514 412-4491. A speech-language pathologist will be available to offer advice.

Department of Speech-Language Pathology
The Montreal Children’s Hospital
McGill University Health Center
(514) 412-4491