Pitch is the term used to describe how people perceive their voice. Pitch is the voice characteristic that makes our voice sound high or low. Everyone will have a different pitch. Sometimes, pitch disorders may occur due to Voice disorders, the voice disorder will be assessed in order to overcome the pitch change. Some people may want to alter their pitch in different ways in order to achieve their desired pitch.
Speech and language therapy is beneficial for those who would like to change their pitch in anyway or need to overcome a voice disorder as therapy can help a child to reach their desired pitch.
What is pitch?
Pitch is how we perceive our voice to sound low or high. People may have a high pitched voice, a low pitched voice or may have a monotone voice (all one pitch). Pitch varies from person to person, leading to some young people not sounding how they desire to.
In some cases, a child may have a pitch disorder which may be caused by underlying voice problem. A pitch disorder occurs when there is a change to a child’s typical pitch, making them sound either higher, lower or more monotone than usual. Pitch disorders are usually due to a change in the function of our vocal folds. Our vocal folds need to be able to close fully and periodically in order for us to produce voice effectively.
Pitch disorders would be assessed by our team of speech and language therapists in order to understand the underlying cause of the change to pitch, therapy will then be delivered accordingly if appropriate.
If a child would like to change their pitch, this will be considered on a case by case basis considering each individual's needs and goals. In some cases a child would like strategies to modify their pitch in certain situations in order to make their voice sound more interesting in different environments, this is most suitable for children in the Performing arts. However, this may not be suitable for everyone and must be considered thoroughly for children who have not yet hit puberty, due to their future voice changes.
Speech and language therapy assessments for pitch
Assessment for pitch will include a detailed case history, this will involve questions regarding medical history, child's voice use in different environments and family history. Having a good understanding of the child’s history will help the speech therapist to discover the root cause of your child's pitch disorder or will establish the goals underlying the desired pitch change.
Pitch disorders 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 (pitch disorders will be assessed here).
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.
Yours and your child’s concerns and will also be discussed throughout assessment in order to create a programme tailored to specific goals and needs.
Pitch strategies for the Performing arts will be based on the individual childs goals and this will be discussed in detail to ensure the therapist can work towards the pitch you desire to achieve.
Speech and language therapy treatment for pitch
Speech and language therapy can improve the vocal quality of a child who has a pitch disorder and can help other children achieve the pitch they desire to.
Suitable therapy for children with a pitch disorder or who would like to modify their pitch include:
- Advice, training and strategies to parents, professionals and siblings
- Vocal hygiene techniques
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
Benefits of speech and language therapy
Speech and language therapy can be of great benefit for children with a pitch disorder as well as those who would like to modify their pitch, as it can improve children’s quality of voice as well increase the clarity of their speech making it easier for others to understand what the child is trying to say. Benefits of speech and language therapy for pitch include:
- Increased intelligibility
- Reduced levels of frustration
- Increased levels of self-esteem and confidence
- Increased activity and participation
- Better quality of life
- Improved vocal quality
Our speech and language therapists can provide vocal hygiene therapy as well as voice exercises that can help your child. This can increase their participation in activities in school or the performing arts that requires voice and speech.
Conditions associated with pitch
A pitch disorder is usually caused by a primary condition. This is most commonly called dysphonia. 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.
Pitch is the perception of our voice being low or high. Pitch disorders are 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 pitch. This can have many benefits for your child, including improved vocal quality and self-esteem. Some children in the performing arts may also want strategies to modify their pitch in certain situations.
What to do next:
Our speech and language therapists will provide a comprehensive assessment and ongoing therapy for pitch disorders. If you think that your child has a pitch disorder, would like to modify their pitch or your child has been diagnosed with dysphonia please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 088 2298.