Voice therapy may be thought of as physical therapy for the voice or voice box. The goal of voice therapy is to reduce harmful behaviors and teach the patient to use their voice in the most efficient way possible. The speech-language pathologist (SLP) specializing in treatment of voice disorders will guide the patient through a regimen of exercises and techniques to teach them to use efficient voicing. They will also teach the patient about harmful vocal behaviors and how to avoid them. The voice therapy can also target harmful vocal behaviors such as throat clearing and chronic cough which frequently can be effectively managed with cough suppression strategies.
Respiratory retraining for voice production is another area which SLPs with expertise in voice disorders are able to address with incorporation of specialized expiratory muscle strength training devices (commercially available) into an individualized therapy program.
Speech-language pathologists at the voice center are also involved in rehabilitation of total laryngectomy patients in establishing an effective alaryngeal voice, communication and swallowing skills. Following total laryngectomy (surgical removal of the voice box), medical and behavioral management will be provided to teach these patients alternative methods of communicating to include use of an artificial larynx, esophageal speech and/or fitting of a voice prosthesis following the treachoesophageal puncture procedure (TEP).
Assessment and Treatment are provided for the following voice and breathing difficulties:
- Vocal Nodules
- Vocal Polyp
- Contact granuloma
- Vocal Fold Paralyses
- Muscle tension Dysphonia
- Pre and Post phonosurgery voice
- Vocal Fold Scar
- Vocal Tremor
- Presbylarynx(aging voice)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Paradoxical Vocal Cord Dysfunction(PVCD)/Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD)
- Total Laryngectomy
Patients may have difficulty swallowing food, or dysphagia, for a number of reasons. Effectively treating dysphagia will begin with a diagnostic assessment. By choosing the best assessment for the patient, speech language pathologists (SLP) gather important information about the swallowing problem. This information then is used to recommend specific behavioral and instrumental swallowing therapy techniques to improve the swallowing function. The assessment include: Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS)/Pharyngogram, Flexible endoscopic evaluation of Swallowing (FEES), and Clinical Bedside Swallowing Assessment. In swallowing therapy, a SLP will teach the patient exercises to strengthen the muscles of swallowing. Research done at the Voice Center and published in the prestigious medical journal, Head and Neck , has demonstrated the efficacy of swallowing exercises in helping patients with head and neck cancer to improve their swallowing function.
Assessment and treatment are provided for the swallowing difficulties following:
- CVA (Stroke)
- Head and Neck Cancer treatment (Radiation/Surgery/Chemoradiation)
- Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery
- Vocal fold Paralysis
- Parkinson’s Disease
Virani, A., Kunduk, M., Fink, D. S., & McWhorter, A. J. (2014). Effects of 2 different swallowing exercise regimens during organ-preservation therapies for head and neck cancers on swallowing function. Head and Neck doi: 10.1002/hed.23570.