The voice varies according to the context of speech and to the physical and psychological conditions of the human being, and there is always a normal standard for the vocal output. Hearing loss can impair voce production, causing social, educational, and speech limitations, with specific deviation of the communication related to speech and voice. Usually, the voice is not the main focus of the speech-language pathology therapy with individuals with hearing loss, but its deviations can represent such a negative impact on this population that it can interfere on speech intelligibility and crucially compromise the social integration of the individual. The literature vastly explores acoustic and perceptual characteristics of children and adults with hearing loss. Voice problems in individuals with this impairment are directly related to its type and severity, age, gender, and type of hearing device used. While individuals with mild and moderate hearing loss can only present problems with resonance, severely impaired individuals may lack intensity and frequency control, among other alterations. The commonly found vocal deviations include strain, breathiness, roughness, monotone, absence of rhythm, unpleasant quality, hoarseness, vocal fatigue, high pitch, reduced volume, loudness with excessive variation, unbalanced resonance, altered breathing pattern, brusque vocal attack, and imprecise articulation. These characteristics are justified by the incapability of the deaf to control their vocal performance due to the lack of auditory monitoring of their own voice, caused by the hearing loss. Hence, the development of an intelligible speech with a good quality of voice on the hearing impaired is a challenge, despite the sophisticated technological advances of hearing aids, cochlear implants and other implantable devices. The purpose of this chapter is therefore to present an extensive review of the literature and describe our experience regarding the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of voice disorders in individuals with hearing loss.
Part of the book: Update On Hearing Loss