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Voice services

  • Understanding videostroboscopy

  • A speech-language pathologist explains what to expect during a videostroboscopy exam.

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  • Your voice box (larynx)

    An extraordinary instrument, the larynx (voice box) allows us to convey emotions such as joy, anger or fear. The vocal folds (vocal cords) vibrate to produce sounds for speech and singing.

    • They come together when we hold our breath, cough and sneeze.
    • They also serve as a valve that closes during swallowing, thus preventing food and liquid from entering the airway (aspiration)

    Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute's Voice Service helps people with voice problems of all kinds, including difficulty communicating on the job, at home and in the community.

    Many people (for example, teachers, sales people, singers, receptionists, medical personnel, politicians, clergy and restaurant workers) rely on their voices in their jobs. But few people really know how to take care of this valuable asset.

    When to seek medical advice

    Seek a medical evaluation if:

    • hoarseness lasts longer than two weeks
    • you experience complete loss or severe change in your voice which lasts longer than a few days
    • hoarseness is associated with pain from a cold or flu, coughing up blood, difficulty swallowing, a lump in the neck, or trauma or surgery to the neck area

    If you need additional evaluation and treatment for your voice, your medical provider may refer you to an otolaryngologist, a doctor whose specialty is ear, nose and throat care.

    An otolaryngologist will diagnose whether you are having problems involving:

    • chronic or recurring hoarseness
    • vocal nodules
    • vocal polyps
    • cancer of the larynx
    • weak or paralyzed vocal folds
    • spasmodic dysphonia
    • vocal tremor
    • arthritis within the larynx
    • reflux laryngitis
    • contact ulcers
    • granuloma
    • hyperfunctional (or tense) voice use
    • vocal fatigue

    Voice problems are best managed by a team of professionals who know how the voice functions. These professionals may include otolaryngologists, speech-language pathologists, teachers of singing and psychologists .

    Speech-language pathologists provide evaluation and treatment when:

    • you have questions about your voice and how to use it in a healthy way
    • you want to know how to protect your voice and prevent vocal problems
    • your medical provider refers you for voice evaluation and treatment

    Voice problems

    Vocal changes can be caused by misuse, stress, environmental irritants and medically related health problems. The most common problems include:

    • laryngitis
    • tightness
    • loss of pitch range
    • cancer of the larynx
    • laryngeal diseases
    • hoarseness
    • vocal fatigue
    • inability to project the voice

    Voice evaluation

    Areas assessed include:

    • patterns of voice usage in work and home environments
    • breath flow for proper voice production
    • pitch, loudness and vocal quality
    • inflection
    • tension in the support structures of the larynx

    Voice rehabilitation

    Treatment goals may include, but are not limited to:

    • learning how to take care of your voice optimally
    • instruction in proper voice production techniques
    • elimination of behaviors that contribute to vocal fold tissue change