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Voice Disorders: Care and Treatment

Why Choose Treatment for Voice Disorders at University of Colorado Hospital?

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University of Colorado Hospital is the premier referral center for voice disorders in the Rocky Mountain region.

We use the latest diagnostic and therapeutic tools available. Our specialists provide the highest quality medical care, conduct research and teach medical students the latest and safest techniques.

What are Voice Disorders?

Treatment of voice disorders involves managing diseases of the:

  • Larynx (voice box)
  • Throat
  • Esophagus
  • Nasal cavity
  • Sinuses

Types of voice disorders include:

  • Hoarseness
  • Vocal paralysis
  • Vocal paresis (partial paralysis)
  • Small masses (nodules or polyps) on the vocal folds (vocal cords)
  • Breathing difficulties caused by obstruction in the upper airway

Tests & Treatments

Tests for Voice Disorders

Your doctor will first evaluate your voice by taking a history that includes asking you to describe the problem, how long you have had it, what triggers it and what may have caused it. You will also be given a comprehensive examination of your head, neck and throat.

 

Diagnostic tests for voice disorders include:

  • Laryngoscopy. Laryngoscopy is used to gain a magnified view of the voice box with either a rigid or flexible tube called an endoscope. The rigid scope is passed through the mouth. The flexible scope is passed through the nose and allows your doctor to examine your voice box while you sing or speak.
  • Videostroboscopy. Videostroboscopy records slow- or fast-moving video pictures of the vocal cords as they vibrate. The videostroboscope is used in conjunction with a rigid or flexible endoscope.
  • Laryngeal electromyography. This test measures electrical activity in the muscles of the throat, which can reveal nerve and structural problems.
  • X-rays, CAT scans or MRIs. These imaging methods detect the presence of masses, tumors or obstructions in the upper airway.

 

Treatments for Voice Disorders

Some voice disorders can be treated with medications. These include:

  • Anti-reflux medicine. Prevents backflow of stomach acids into the esophagus, the muscular tube leading from the back of the throat to the stomach.
  • Thyroid medicines. These treat hypothyroidism, or low functioning of the gland that regulates the rate of functions in your body.
  • Botulinium toxin (a protein) injections. This compound is injected into the vocal folds to treat muscle spasms that cause voice disorders (spasmodic dysphonia).

Surgical treatments performed at UCH for voice disorders

  • Injection augmentation. Surgical injection of fat or AlloDerm (a human tissue) to add bulk to the vocal folds for better closure.
  • Type I cricoidplasty. Implantation of a device behind the muscle that pushes the vocal folds together. The implant helps the muscle to reposition the folds of the voice box so that they are centered.

Patient Education

Getting a Second Opinion About Voice Disorders

We are happy to provide second opinions for patients who have symptoms of or a diagnosis of a voice disorder.

 

Additional Voice Disorders Resources

VoiceProblem.Org

How to Make an Appointment for the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic

To make an appointment at the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, please call (720) 848-2820.

For Audiology, call (720) 848-2800.