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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

Unlocking the Connection: Exploring the Link Between Voice Use and Throat Clearing

By Kathryn Graves SLP


woman clearing her throat

In my practice, I’ve seen many people who develop a pattern of throat clearing directly related to how they use their voice. They typically have a rough voice quality and strain along with the feeling of needing to clear their throat.


Why does this happen?


When talking with inefficient phonation (the sounds of speech), the feeling we get in our larynx (voice box) is uncomfortable and makes us want to clear our throat. Clearing the throat often makes the voice box more sensitive which leads to a cycle of more throat clearing.



How do I know if someone’s throat clearing is linked to the way that they use their voice?


One clue is that a person says that their throat clearing gets worse with more speaking or at the end of the day after they’ve been speaking for a long time. It’s typical that a person doesn’t recognize this link on their own. It may take some demonstration to help them understand that properly using their voice can actually eliminate their throat clearing. Many patients will see significant improvement after just 5 minutes of practice in increasing the resonance of their voice when speaking. 


How can speech therapy help with this problem?


An individual approach is always most effective in any therapy but in general treatment of this problem should include:


- Training in resonant voice and flow to re-establish efficient phonation patterns

- Practicing voice skills to generalize to everyday situations

- Finding an alternative to throat clearing behavior (like swallowing instead)

- Addressing other issues that may affect the voice and throat clearing issues like vocal hygiene


Do you have any concerns about your voice? Reach out to Engage Therapy and Wellness at 315-810-2423 today and see if speech therapy may be right for you! 

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