Virtual Voice Therapy During Covid Lockdown

Voice disorders account for 30% of the population and even higher for voice professional like singers, actors and teachers. That’s a large amount of people who potentially can’t rely on their voice for their income.

Voice treatment in general involve being close together in a room with deep breathing, blowing air and the not so elegant lip raspberry which gives the perfect environment to spread water droplets to whoever is close by. Also as the clinician should be wearing a mask, I doubt it would do much help for any visual explanations or technique examples.

The Challenge of Virtual Voice Therapy During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Giovanna Cantarella, Maria Rosaria Barillari, Jerome R. Lechien, and Lorenzo Pignataro, Milan and Naples Italy, and Paris, France. Journal of Voice. 2020.

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Let’s add the world of COVID-19 of social distancing and lockdown and you see a major issue for those needing one-on-one voice therapy.

But, what we’re seeing also is a phenomenal explosive use of internet based medical and health treatment. This was already in place but the forced lockdowns have pushed people into using this high tech tool to provide a health service, and it seems for some, a better service than expected. No need to travel, no need to spit on each other and you can invite other professionals into the telemedicine session.

The increased use of Telemedicine has highlighted a few problems that still need to be addressed to improve this new service model. These fabulous experts in the field have highlighted the main problems that we still have to overcome:

  1. Most medical centres do not have the appropriate tech. They may not have the appropriate digital camera or the internet service system.
  2. Clinicians are not confident with the new tech. There’s some training that needs to be done. We’re not all up to date on all the current tech.
  3. Not everyone has access to tech. This is mainly for low-social economic (although they stated that everyone has a phone that could still be used) and the elderly are probably the main population that don’t have or don’t want to use tech.
  4. European private health insurers usually do not compensate for this type of treatment. I’m not European so I don’t know much about this.

If we can address these few areas we’ll have a much better service available to more people to improve their livelihoods and their mental health.

Thanks to better understanding of the virus, better health information, social distancing and I’ll throw in vaccinations, life is returning to ‘normal’ but not as we know it. I get the feeling we will always have to live with the dynamics of global pandemics.

What’s your experience with voice treatment? What will or wont work with telehealth/telemedicine?

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