The Voice Program

voice photo

Assessment and Treatment of Voice Disorders

A normal, healthy voice is essential for effective oral communication. Although voice disorders are more prevalent among professional voice users (singers, teachers, ministers, and attorneys, for example), vocal problems can affect anyone at any age. It is estimated that as much as 10 percent of the population experiences voice problems at some time. Disease and trauma account for most voice disorders; however, factors such as occupation, lifestyle, and environment can cause and/or contribute to vocal problems.

The Voice Disorders Program at the University of Tennessee Hearing and Speech Center offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment of voice disorders and can serve as a resource for physicians specializing in laryngeal disorders.

Evaluation of the voice and laryngeal function is accomplished using state-of-the-art techniques including the following:

  • videolaryngoscopy and stroboscopy
  • acoustical analysis of the voice using computer imaging
  • transglottal air pressure and airflow analysis
  • perceptual analysis and consultation

The voice evaluation is performed by speech-language pathologists with expertise in vocal disorders including these:

  • medically based vocal pathologies
  • conditions specific to professional vocalists and/or voice users
  • conditions related to chronic misuse of the voice

Following the evaluation, a comprehensive voice profile and an individualized treatment plan are formulated. The goal of treatment is to restore or maintain a patient’s optimal voice. This is accomplished through a combination of vocal education, direct modification of the physical factors of vocal production, and elimination and/or modification of contributing factors.

Treatment may be conducted in conjunction with medical management.

Disorders included but not restricted to:

  • nodules and polyps
  • spasmodic dysphonia
  • laryngectomy
  • Parkinson’s Disease and neuromuscular disorders
  • laryngospasms
  • functional voice disorders
  • vocal fold paralysis
  • work-related injuries

Treatment may include: 

  • vocal hygiene
  • vocal function exercises
  • resonant voice therapy
  • voice training for singers and professional users
  • facilitative techniques