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The Training Program for the Correction of Tense Voice Production* is designed for use with students who exhibit severe to moderate vocal tension. Tension is defined as a voice quality identified with excessive strain involving respiratory and laryngeal dynamics. Excessive strain may be evident in the articulatory, phonatory, and aerodynamic aspects of speech production.

This program helps the student learn to effectively coordinate respiration, phonation, and articulation. To learn this coordination, the student proceeds through controlled objectives that constantly build on previously established skills and enable the student to generalize the use of a relaxed voice to increasingly complex contexts.

Progressing through Program
The overall sequencing of tasks involves three basic steps:

  • Student comprehension of the purpose for training. This includes an understanding of the basic processes of respiration and phonation and how tension adversely effects these normal processes.
  • Student identification of the presence of tension and the voluntary reduction of tension when producing a vowel.
  • Systematic reduction of tension practiced on vowels, syllables, and phrases. This practice facilitates the generalization of relaxation to various articulatory features.

Achieving Success

At the outset of the program, the therapist should help the student attain the best possible voice. This should then be the reference for accepting or rejecting subsequent productions. Consistency in judgment is of utmost importance. Tape recording student productions may be beneficial for monitoring decisions to accept or reject responses.

Whenever possible, encourage and reinforce the use of a relaxed voice during conversational speech. A good carry-over activity is for the student to practice the target phrases within a sentence. Another possibility is to progressively increase the length of time or number of words the student should speak without tension. The development of self-monitoring skills should be strongly emphasized.

Below are some samples of a student's progressive achievement at a more relaxed voice:

The following are selected samples from the Training Program for Correct Tense Voice Production.

*Spector, Paula Brown, Subtleny, Joanne D., Whitehead, Robert L., and Wirz, Sheila L. "Description and Evaluation of a Training Program to Reduce Vocal Tension in Adult Deaf Speakers." The Volta Review, Volume 81, February-March, 1979.