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Speech therapy – not just for speaking

Speech therapy is often used as a blanket term for speech-language pathology, which addresses a broad scope of conditions involved in communication, using your voice and swallowing. We value patient-centered care and treatment goals formed through teamwork with each patient.

Speech and voice issues may include:

Voice disorders. We work with professional voice users, singers and everyday people to help with medical conditions related to their voice or voice box (the larynx). Evaluation usually includes videostroboscopy, where we magnify the larynx and vocal cords with a small camera. Treatment includes voice therapy, vocal function exercises, training in proper vocal hygiene and acid reflux precautions. We provide therapy for conditions that include:

  • Nodules, polyps or cysts (lesions or benign growths)
  • Paralysis (vocal nerve damage)
  • Paresis (muscle weakness)
  • Hemorrhage (bleeding)
  • Muscle tension dysphonia (swelling of vocal muscles)
  • Atrophy (loss of muscle in vocal folds)
  • Presbyphonia (vocal issues related to aging)
  • Tremor or spasmodic dysphonia (neurological related vocal conditions0

Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM)/Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD). Some patients’ vocal folds don’t work as they should, making it difficult to speak or even breathe at certain times. We can help patients stop these episodes from occurring.

Treatment includes breathing exercises to relax upper body muscle tension and restore normal vocal fold movement during moments when it is hard to breathe or speak. Our team also works closely with specialists in allergy and immunology and gastroenterology to diagnose the condition and create a treatment plan.

Dysphagia (swallowing difficulty) has various causes:

  • Head and neck cancers
  • Lung and pulmonary conditions (COPD)
  • Vocal fold paralysis (following surgery or tumor growth)
  • Nervous system or neurodegenerative disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, or ALS)
  • Head or spinal cord injury
  • Stroke
  • Gastrointestinal issues

Evaluation includes swallowing testing, a modified barium Swallow Study and endoscopy. Treatment can include muscle-strengthening exercises, “workarounds” and compensatory strategies, and diet recommendations or modifications.