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Diagnosing and Treating Voice and Swallowing Issues

Your ability to speak can influence how well you communicate with those around you. Your ability to swallow can affect what and how much you eat and drink, which can have a tremendous impact on your overall health. For these reasons, issues with your voice or swallowing can greatly affect your quality of life. The UT Health East Texas Voice and Swallowing Clinic can help.

The clinic takes a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment, employing a speech therapist, Stacy Dickerson, CCC-SLP, and an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon, Robert Strominger, MD. We specialize in the treatment of voice and swallowing disorders.

By combining the expertise of both specialties, we are able to provide a comprehensive evaluation of voice and swallowing disorders using state-of-the-art equipment, make a diagnosis and develop comprehensive treatment recommendations in a timely and efficient manner.

The clinic serves patients who are experiencing a wide variety of voice and swallowing issues. Patients who may benefit from a consultation include:

  • Those experiencing hoarseness, change in vocal quality or change in pitch range.
  • Professional voice users who experience altered vocal performance, vocal fatigue or pain.
  • Those suffering from disorders of the larynx due to neurological conditions, such as vocal cord paralysis, tremor and spasmodic dysphonia.
  • Professional voice users in need of preventive care and vocal hygiene education.
  • Anyone experiencing difficulty swallowing following a stroke or as a result of Parkinson’s disease or other neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Patients in need of swallowing and voice rehabilitation following treatment for head and neck cancer.

Additionally, we utilize a detailed, comprehensive history and physical focusing on your chief complaint, as well as advanced high-definition imaging of your vocal cords and/or swallowing function to aid in diagnosis.

Flexible nasolaryngoscopy is a procedure we use to examine the larynx (voice box) and pharynx (throat). A thin flexible endoscope is passed through the nose into the throat. This allows for the assessment of the anatomy and function of the larynx and pharynx for the production of voice and swallowing.

During a voice assessment, videostroboscopy can be performed to further evaluate the vibratory behavior of the vocal cords. During a swallowing assessment, functional endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) is performed, which allows for the visualization of the throat while drinking water and foods of various consistencies. Different compensatory strategies may be tried during swallowing to see if they are effective.

The information obtained from this testing is used to make medical, surgical, dietary and speech or swallowing therapy recommendations as needed. After treatment, patients return to the clinic to assess their response.

The UT Health East Texas Voice and Swallowing Clinic is located in the UT Health East Texas ENT Center at 2210 Three Lakes Parkway in Tyler. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 903-747-4098.

 

Information provided by Robert Strominger, MD, a board-certified otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon at UT Health East Texas ENT Center on Three Lakes Parkway in Tyler. For more information, visit UTHealthEastTexas.com or call 903-596-DOCS.

 

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