Voice & Swallowing Disorders

Treating Voice Disorders at Wake Forest Baptist

In addition to extensive swallowing therapies, Wake Forest Baptist offers advanced treatments for patients with voice problems.  We work closely with each patient to create a treatment plan that may include one or more of the following:

Pulsed KTP laser treatment

The pulsed KTP laser technology procedure to treat vocal fold lesions can be done in the office. A thin, flexible telescope is passed through the nose to get advanced imaging and easy access to the larynx, or voice box. 

Laryngeal Videostroboscopy

This is a minimally invasive procedure during which a small camera is passed either through the nose (flexible distal chip endoscope) or the mouth (rigid endoscope) to take magnified pictures of the throat while the patient makes different sounds. The video is recorded and used to evaluate laryngeal function, assess vibratory characteristics of the vocal folds and determine if any lesions or growths are in the larynx. The physician uses this information to determine the cause of vocal complaints.  Learn more about laryngeal videostroboscopy.

Laryngeal Control Therapy

Laryngeal control therapy teaches patients how to prevent or quickly resolve episodes of shortness of breath (SOB) caused by paradoxical vocal fold movement, also known as vocal cord dysfunction. This is done through a combination of breathing exercises designed to help the vocal folds fully open and relax during episodes of SOB, called respiratory retraining, and therapy to reduce upper airway sensitivity to triggers. Therapy includes education on ways to improve laryngeal health and hygiene. Laryngeal control therapy may also be used to address chronic cough or throat clearing associated with irritable larynx syndrome and is sometimes recommended in conjunction with medication. Patients are typically seen for 2-4 sessions, approximately once every 2-3 weeks.

Laryngeal Electromyography

Laryngeal electromyography is a test that is performed in conjunction with a neurologist to test the strength of the muscles in the larynx, or voice box. Learn more about laryngeal electromyography.

Voice Therapy

Patients have a comprehensive acoustic and perceptual voice evaluation to analyze the severity of the voice disorder, determine how the complaints affect daily vocal demands and assess the likelihood of positive response to voice therapy.  If the patient enjoys singing, be it around the home, in church or professionally, the evaluation includes assessment of the singing voice by our voice pathologist and singing voice specialist.  The patient and clinician review the findings and work together to formulate the goals for voice therapy.  In the majority of cases, vocal complaints resolve or significantly improve within 3 to 5 sessions, with the patient typically seen every 1 to 2 weeks.  

Acoustic data may be used to aid in the diagnosis of certain neurological conditions affecting the voice, such as spasmodic dysphonia or tremor, or to determine the effectiveness of Botox injections. Patients who undergo surgical excision of a lesion on the vocal folds are typically referred for both pre and post-operative voice therapy to optimize healing.

Voice therapy is tailored to each individual. Techniques may include low abdominal breathing, resonant voicing, easy onsets, flow phonation, confidential voicing, open throat phonation, voice building (strengthening), respiratory retraining and call-out exercises.   Vocal flexibility or strengthening exercises are frequently accompanied on the piano, with patients given a CD of the exercises to practice at home. The goal of therapy is to give the patient the tools needed to consistently produce a clear, strong voice. 

Make an Appointment with Voice Team

Call 716-WAKE or request an appointment online.

 

 

 

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Last Updated: 08-29-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.