• Diagnosing Voice Disorders

    At the Department of Speech Pathology, we provide a wide range of traditional and innovative diagnostic methods and technologies. Patients are often examined with a flexible telescope called a laryngoscope, which gives the physician a close look at the voice box. This tool enables the doctor to diagnose subtle disorders in the way the vocal folds move and to determine whether the patient is using his or her voice in a proper or improper manner.

    Newer technology includes stroboscopy, a diagnostic exam that uses a tiny camera attached to a probe. The camera provides a magnified, high-resolution image to help physicians diagnose small vocal fold scars, for example. The physician can attach a microphone to the patient's neck to pick up the frequency of the vocal cords' vibration, which is far faster than the human eye can see. A computer interprets the vibration and flashes a strobe light to show a representation of the vocal fold vibration.

    Utilization of acoustic analysis via computerized technology can also provide relevant information for diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders. The computer analyzes a recording of the patient's voice in order to provide objective measures of how the voice is being used. The computer system can also be quite useful in treating voice disorders in adults and children, including trials of delayed auditory feedback for dysfluent patients and computerized voice games for children.

    These technologies, combined with dynamic assessment (seeing and hearing the voice in action) and clinical observation help us to reach an accurate diagnosis and devise an appropriate treatment plan. 

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