The Yawn-Sigh Technique Made Easy

In this article, you’ll learn how to use the yawn-sigh technique to treat voice patients.

Research has shown that the yawn-sigh technique can help relax the vocal tract and improve vocal fold nodules (Mansuri, 2018; Boone, 1993).

To help you master this technique, you’ll learn:

  • The purpose of the yawn-sigh technique
  • Who to use it with
  • How to do it

For visual or auditory learners, you’ll also find a how-to video.

Let’s get started!

What Is The Purpose of the Yawn Sigh Technique?

yawn-sighn technique

The yawn-sigh technique uses yawning and sighing to improve the symptoms of vocal hyperfunction and vocal nodules. It relaxes the voice while facilitating a natural pitch.

The yawn-sigh uses the natural actions of yawning and sighing to:

  • Lower the position of the larynx
  • Widen the supraglottal space
  • Have a more relaxed, natural voice
  • Teach easy onset
  • Stretch the muscles of the face and jaw

 It’s also a great vocal warm-up!

More Popular Articles

Yawn Sigh For Vocal Hyperfunction

vocal hypertension

The yawn-sigh is an effective treatment for vocal hyperfunction (‘dysphonia’).

Your patient may have vocal hyperfunction if they have a horse voice, laryngeal tension, and/or reports losing their voice by the end of the day.

Vocal hyperfunction can lead to impairments in vocal quality and functioning. Chronic vocal hyperfunction can lead to vocal fatigue, hoarseness, and throat tension, among other symptoms.

Who Benefits From The Yawn Sigh Technique?

who benefits from the yawn-sigh technique?

The yawn-sigh technique can help treat the following symptoms:

  • Vocal hoarseness 
  • Vocal fatigue
  • Vocal nodules (diagnosed by an ENT)
  • Injury to the vocal tract (yelling, trauma)
  • Vocal strain

Professions that require a lot of vocal use may also benefit from this technique:

  • Teachers
  • Coaches, referees
  • Singers

If your patient has more severe hoarseness or long-standing voice concerns, treat the underlying issue by referring to an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor), gastroenterologist, and/or voice specialist.

How To Do The Yawn-Sigh Technique

yawn sigh
  1. Take in an easy, relaxed breath through your mouth while yawning gently. You should feel the back of your throat relaxing.
  2. Gently exhale some air, as if you’re sighing.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 a few times.
  4. Next, take in another easy, relaxed breath through the mouth while yawning. Open your mouth wide.
  5. Gently exhale air as if sighing, but this time, on the out-breath, gradually make a ‘haaa’ sound.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 a few times.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 with a list of initial /h/ words. i.e., hay, hope, high, him, hot, horse, hip, head, his, hop.
  8. For additional practice, complete steps 4-6 with vowel sounds /a, e, i, o, u/ three times each.

Yawn-Sigh Technique Video

Speech-language pathologist Alisha Kleindel models the yawn-sigh technique for vocal tension.

Learn More About Voice Therapy 

To learn more about how to assess and treat voice disorders, read the following articles:

Voice Therapy PDFs

See what speech-language pathologists are saying about the Voice & Resonance Pack!


I love this item. It has provided me with an easy way to share information with my voice clients with minimal prep for sessions, and easily manageable pieces or lessons of information.

voice and resonance workbook



I use this all the time!

voice and resonance workbook



  • Boone DR, McFarlane SC. A critical view of the yawn-sigh as a voice therapy technique. J Voice. 1993 Mar;7(1):75-80. doi: 10.1016/s0892-1997(05)80114-6. PMID: 8353622.
  • Mansuri, B., Tohidast, S. A., Soltaninejad, N., Kamali, M., Ghelichi, L., & Azimi, H. (2018). Nonmedical Treatments of Vocal Fold Nodules: A Systematic Review. Journal of voice: official journal of the Voice Foundation, 32(5), 609–620.
Scroll to Top