Voice Care

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8898

The Voice Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center provides state-of-the-art care for patients with voice disorders and other conditions affecting the larynx (voice box), airways, and swallowing function.

Our multidisciplinary team combines the expertise of fellowship-trained laryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors with specialized training in disorders of the larynx), speech-language pathologists with training specifically in voice care, and singing-voice specialists. We also conduct research in laryngology and voice care and regularly present at national and international conferences.

Image Here

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

Professional Voice Care for Patients and Performers

Many people don’t realize that unexplained voice changes can be corrected or significantly improved, often with therapy alone or, in some cases, with minimally invasive procedures. At the Voice Center, we treat professionals who rely on their voices – singers, actors, public speakers, broadcasters, lawyers, clergy, and teachers – and seniors or anyone experiencing vocal problems.

We help patients who develop voice problems due to neurological disease, trauma, and other conditions – even unknown reasons. The speech-language pathologists at the Voice Center work with patients one-on-one to teach them techniques and strategies to optimize voice production.

Patients should schedule an evaluation with our team if they notice any voice, swallowing, or airway changes, such as:

  • Age-related changes to their sound
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Decreased loudness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of pitch range
  • Pain or discomfort in the throat
  • Pain or fatigue when speaking or singing
  • Problems with the singing voice
  • Voice breaks
  • Vocal tremor
  • Whispery or breathy voice

Voice Problems We Treat

A voice problem is any undesirable change in the voice that lasts longer than two weeks. Medical conditions and overuse can damage the voice. Voice problems can also result from vocal misuse, such as speaking or singing too loudly or at an abnormally high or low pitch, or abuse, such as excessive talking, screaming, coughing, smoking, or inhaling irritants.

Our voice care team provides an extensive range of clinical expertise to treat voice, airway, larynx, and swallowing problems that include:

Voice Problems
Airway Problems
Larynx Problems
Swallowing Problems

Diagnosing Voice Disorders

At UT Southwestern, our voice care professionals begin 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

To examine the vocal cords, we often use one or more instruments, such as a:

  • Flexible laryngoscope: A narrow, flexible tube with a light and camera, inserted through the nose to view the throat
  • Rigid laryngoscope: A narrow, rigid viewing tube inserted through the mouth
  • Videostroboscope: A camera with a flashing light that provides a slow-motion view of the vocal cords as they vibrate

To confirm a diagnosis, 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
Image Here
L-R: Shumon Dhar, M.D., Ted Mau, M.D., Ph.D., Lesley Childs, M.D.

Services and Treatments We Offer

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

  • Behavioral intervention with our speech-language pathology team, such as speaking and singing voice therapy or swallow therapy
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections for spasmodic dysphonia and laryngeal tremor
  • In-office pulsed KTP laser treatments for various vocal cord and laryngeal diseases
  • In-office vocal cord injections
  • In-office airway injections
  • In-office nerve blocks
  • Laryngeal electromyography (EMG) during laryngeal botulinum toxin injections
  • Management of airway and swallowing problems
  • Microsurgery of the vocal cords
  • Professional voice care
  • Software-based voice analysis
  • Thyroplasty and vocal cord augmentation for vocal cord paralysis or weakness
  • Reinnervation for vocal cord paralysis
  • Selective laryngeal adductor denervation–reinnervation (SLAD-R) for adductor spasmodic dysphonia

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. 

Support Services

At UT Southwestern, education and outreach are part of our mission, in addition to patient care. We frequently provide presentations about vocal health to choirs and other organizations. We’re passionate about what we do, and we’re here to help patients rediscover their voices.

Image Here
L-R: Laura Toles, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Ted Mau, M.D.,Ph.D., Adrianna Schembel, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Clinical Trials

As one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a number of clinical trials aimed at improving screening, diagnosis, and treatment of all types of voice and swallowing disorders.

Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials might receive treatments years before they are available to the public.

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 otolaryngologists and speech-language pathologists can restore vocal health.

Watch the video

Image Here

Voice Care for Teachers

It's no secret that the voice is a teacher’s most powerful teaching tool. Educators use their voices all day long. In fact, teachers – not singers – have among the highest vocal demands of any profession. Find out how to protect and preserve the voice by watching the video of our Facebook Live chat with voice care specialist Lesley Childs, M.D.

Watch the video

UTSW Specialists Celebrate World Voice Day

The UTSW Voice Care Center specialists celebrated World Voice Day with the University of North Texas (UNT) professors and students. Attendees learned how to take care of and conserve their voice while enjoying performances by UNT jazz, opera, and theater students.

Watch the video

Image Here

Opera Singer Nearly Loses Voice To Common, Avoidable Condition

With constant rehearsing and performing, Jelinek went full force toward her dream, not knowing the damage happening to the very instrument she used to wow her audiences. Lesley Childs, M.D., Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Medical Director of the Voice Center at UT Southwestern was able to save her voice, and her dream, through vocal cord surgery. 

Permission to post from NBC DFW

Watch the video

Image Here

Finding Your Voice

A team of UT Southwestern specialists restores once-vibrant voices lost due to overuse, neurological problems, age, trauma, and other conditions.

Voice Center Updates

We are dedicated to providing updates and insights to our community physicians on the topic of voice, airway, and swallowing disorders. Read our newsletter: