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Painful voice

Painful voice

Painful voice is the word used to describe any uncomfortable feeling when talking. The throat may feel scratchy, sore or strained. The pain can range from mild to severe and will commonly get worse throughout the day as the voice is used more. Speaking may become difficult and some children may choose to stop using their voice to avoid the pain.

Speech and language therapy is beneficial for children with painful voice as they will be able to determine the cause of this and will be provided with appropriate intervention.

What is painful voice?

A voice problem is when someone has difficulties with speech due to a painful or uncomfortable feeling when talking.

Speech and language therapy assessments for painful voice

Assessment for voice disorders will include a detailed case history, this will involve questions regarding medical history, child's voice use in different environment and family history. This will help the speech therapist to discover the root cause of your child's painful voice.

Painful voice can most appropriately be described as a characteristic of dysphonia. Dysphonia is any change to the vocal quality leading to partial loss of voice. Our speech and language therapists will engage in play and different activities with your child, tailored to their age and interests. Throughout these activities, the speech therapist will listen closely to your child's vocal quality and how they use their voice.

The speech therapist will use the GRBAS scale to assess the severity of your child’s dysphonia. This will involve a rating for:

  • Grade: The listener identifies the severity of the vocal disorder as a whole.
  • Roughness: The irregularity in the vibrations of the vocal folds indicates the roughness of voice.
  • Breathiness: Audible turbulence as a hiss or breathing sound escaping from the vocal folds is assessed.
  • Asthenia: This is vocal weakness or the loss of power in someone's voice.
  • Strain: Vocal tension along with the pitch is assessed as strain.

Each of these aspects of voice will be assessed as individual characteristics. This will then point out the needs for the child and which aspect of voice may need treatment.

A camera scan may also be taken of the vocal folds to see if a physical problem is causing the painful voice, such as Vocal fold nodules.

Yours and your child’s concerns and goals will also be discussed throughout assessment in order to create a programme tailored to specific goals and needs.

Conditions associated with painful voice

Painful voice is usually caused by a primary condition. This is most commonly called dysphonia or Vocal fold nodules. Dysphonia can be caused by Voice disorders. It may also be caused by poor vocal hygiene, this may be from shouting or not drinking enough water.

Have questions?

If you have any questions about the services that we provide or the difficulties that we are able to help, do not hesitate to contact us.



Painful voice is an impairment in voice quality and occurs when there is an abnormal change to the voice. Our speech therapists can assess and treat any voice difficulties, including painful voice. This can have many benefits for your child, including improved vocal quality and self-esteem.

What to do next:

Our speech and language therapists will provide a comprehensive assessment and ongoing therapy for painful voice. If you think that your child has a painful voice or your child has been diagnosed with dysphonia please email office@sltforkids.co.uk or call 0330 088 2298.

Talk to us

If you would like any more information on any of the services we offer or would like to book an appointment, do not hesitate to contact us and one of our team will be happy to help. Email office@sltforkids.co.uk or call 0330 088 2298.

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