Professional Voice Care

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At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our Voice Center team has extensive expertise in caring for voice professionals with conditions affecting their voice. Our highly trained laryngologists, speech-language pathologists, and singing-voice specialists use the latest diagnostic and therapeutic technology to help people whose careers depend on their voices.

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Amy Harris, M.A., CCC-SLP, a singing-voice specialist, conducts a singing voice therapy session.

Exceptional Care for Voice Professionals

The voice is a crucial communication tool. For singers and other performers who aim to express the entire range of human emotions, or police dispatchers handling dozens of emergency calls each day, the voice is crucial to the work they do and indispensable in communicating with family and friends.

At UT Southwestern, we are passionate about professional voice care and offer a unique perspective. Our multidisciplinary team includes not only fellowship-trained laryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors with specialized training in disorders of the larynx (voice box) and speech-language pathologists with training specifically in voice care, but also classically trained singers with the expertise to help voice professionals perform their best.

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L-R Back Row: Adrianna Schembel, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Amy Harris, M.A., CCC-SLP, Cory Atkinson, M.A., CCC-SLP, L-R Front Row: Melanie Turner, M.S., CCC-SLP, Jacob Lofland, M.S., CCC-SLP, Laura Toles, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Janis Deane, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Professional Voice Care: Conditions We Treat

We treat any voice problems that voice professionals experience, such as:

Diagnosing Voice Problems

At UT Southwestern, our professional voice care team begins with a thorough evaluation that includes a:

  • Physical exam, with an inspection of the vocal cords
  • Review of personal and family medical history
  • Discussion of symptoms and occupation

To examine the vocal cords, we often use a videostroboscope, which is a telescope-like camera with a flashing light that provides a magnified, slow-motion view of the vocal cords as they vibrate.

In the procedure, we place the videostroboscope on the tongue or pass a flexible version through the nose. The scope shines a strobe light on the vocal cords while the patient makes sounds.

The recorded exam, which we review with each patient, provides specific details about the vocal cord vibratory pattern. It also allows the laryngologist and speech-language pathologist to observe specific abnormalities of the vocal cords.

Depending on the results of our evaluation and videostroboscopy, we sometimes use additional tests, such as:

  • Laryngeal electromyography (EMG): Small needles inserted through the skin to measure electric currents in voice box muscles
  • Sound (acoustic) analysis: Computer analysis that measures irregularities in the sounds produced by the vocal cords

Professional Voice Care: Services We Offer

After our evaluation, our team works together to develop a treatment plan for comprehensive care of the singing or speaking voice. At the Voice Center, we offer:

  • Behavioral intervention, such as voice therapy, with our speech-language pathology team and singing-voice specialists
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections for tremor and spasmodic dysphonia
  • Surgery for spasmodic dysphonia
  • In-office pulsed KTP laser treatments for various vocal cord diseases
  • In-office vocal cord injections
  • Laryngeal electromyography (EMG) during laryngeal botulinum toxin injections
  • Microsurgery of the vocal cords
  • Software-based voice analysis
  • Thyroplasty, arytenoid adduction, vocal cord augmentation, and reinnervation for vocal cord paralysis or weakness

Our team provides well visits for singers and performers for an affordable fee (not covered by health insurance). These visits include a perceptual and objective evaluation of the speaking and singing voice and a videostroboscopy to examine the vocal folds.

The Voice: A Uniquely Human Instrument

Ted Mau, M.D., Ph.D., a nationally recognized expert on voice disorders, offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the apparatus responsible for verbal communication. Dr. Mau discusses what can go wrong with this fascinating organ and how laryngologists and speech-language pathologists can restore vocal health.

Dr. Mau also was interviewed by NPR's Sam Baker about how to avoid voice strain.

Watch the video

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