When should I see a physician about my voice?
You should see a physician if you experience:
- Voice changes lasting longer than two weeks, especially if you smoke
- Pain in your throat when talking that is not from a cold or flu
- Severe change in your voice, or complete loss of voice lasting longer than a few days and is not associated with a cold or flu
- Persistent voice changes that inhibit your ability to do your normal activities
- Smokers should not hesitate to see a physician with any change in their voice. Smoking causes throat cancer, and hoarseness is one of its earliest signs.
What type of physician should I see about my voice problem?
At a minimum, you s hould visit a board-certified otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat physician). Otolaryngologists who specialize exclusively in voice problems are called laryngologists. In order to best determine whether there are any lesions on the vocal folds , your visit should include an endoscopic examination, preferably videostroboscopy exam. If you are a performer, you should visit a laryngologist who is familiar with the vocal requirements of performers.
Why do I need the Grabscheid Voice and Swallowing Center?
Medical and scientific understanding of how voice problems occur and how they are best treated is changing rapidly as increasingly sophisticated diagnostic and treatment techniques become available. The explosion in knowledge about normal and abnormal voice production, diagnostic and treatment approaches has made it almost impossible for one single individual to know everything that needs to be known about voice problems. At the Grabscheid Voice and Swallowing Center, our treatment team includes a laryngologist , voice scientist and voice therapist, among others, to provide you with the best and most current clinical care.
What types of insurance are accepted at the Grabscheid Voice and Swallowing Center?
Our team participates in most insurance plans. Please call 212-979-4119 for further information.
What happens during the visit?
When you arrive for your appointment, you will need to complete registration forms, including insurance referral information that may be necessary for your particular plan. Then, you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire about the symptoms you may be experiencing. You will participate in an in-depth interview with the team regarding your health, your voice, and your lifestyle. We need to get to know you - your profession, your personality, even your hobbies can all affect your voice!
Your visit will probably include a laryngeal videostroboscopy examination. This is an examination of the larynx using an oral endoscope connected to a digital video camera. This is not painful at all. Topical anesthetic may be sprayed at the back of the mouth to make the exam more comfortable.
Vocal Function Testing may also be performed, including asking you to produce a variety of words and sounds, modified in different ways, to test different aspects of voice. We will discuss our findings and treatment recommendations with you at the time of the initial evaluation. You will be given the time and opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns you may have.
You will leave your appointment with information about your diagnosis and a plan for treatment or any further testing that may be necessary.
Will I probably need surgery to cure my voice problem?
It depends upon the cause of the voice problem, of course. For a few types of voice problems, surgery is the best treatment. But for many types of voice problems, surgery is not the first treatment, and for some types of problems, surgery is not recommended at all. Voice disorders may be treated with various medicines, and often with voice therapy sometimes by itself, and sometimes before or after surgery. If there are multiple treatments, we will offer you all if the information needed to make an intelligent choice.
Treatment plans are complex decisions based upon many factors. The most important of these is each person's vocal needs. Every patient at The Voice and Swallowing Institute participates in decision-making about his or her treatment in partnership with the Institute's team.
A Note of Caution
The Internet is a powerful tool for obtaining information, but there is little regulation regarding the type of information provided. Anyone can publish just about anything on the web regarding voice. There is a fantastic amount of information about the voice, some grounded in scientific research, some based upon clinical experience, and some of it simply personal opinion.
We have been diligent, on this website, to provide you with accurate information, and to let you know when there is an absence of sufficient scientific evidence. We urge you to be a smart consumer of web-based health information.
Remember that only a physician should give you advice about starting, stopping or changing medications. The information we have provided is general information only. It may not apply to your specific voice problem.