Encouraging healthy voice

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Why is voice care important?

Children use their voices in lots of different ways throughout the day so it is important to use the voice correctly.


How do we produce voice?

The vocal folds are small and delicate cords in the voice box which vibrate together very quickly using air from the lungs. This produces sound which the mouth and tongue use to shape into voice.

If this vibration is too forced, the folds become strained and damaged. This can also happen if the voice is not rested or it has been used for a long time.


Signs of unhealthy use

Voice damage often means swelling of the vocal folds (laryngitis) or small growths on the vocal folds (nodules or polyps).

What may the signs be?

  • Hoarseness/gruffness
  • Complaints of a “scratchy” or sore throat
  • Breathy, airy speech
  • High/low pitched voice


If you notice any of these signs in your child and they persist for 3 months, talk to your GP or Speech and Language Therapist. They can refer your child to see an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT) if necessary.


Top Tips for Voice Care

  • Encourage a quieter voice and reduce background noise if your child uses a loud speaking voice.
  • Use a quiet voice when you speak to help reduce your child’s volume. Avoid whispering as this can tire the vocal folds.
  • Encourage turn taking in conversation. This can reduce ‘competition’ for talking time and help reduce your child’s need to strain their voice.
  • Encourage your child to move closer to the person they want to talk to, rather than calling upstairs/to another room.


  • Talk about ways of getting the attention of others e.g. raising their hand/waving.
  • Encourage plenty of voice rest especially after singing, long conversations or reading aloud.
  • Encourage quiet activities where your child does not need to use their voice.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water to keep the vocal folds moist and hydrated (1-1.5 litres recommended). Limit intake of drinks containing caffeine (e.g. fizzy drinks) as this has a drying effect on the vocal folds.
  • Keep the air in your home healthy e.g. open windows/remove dust