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Voice Evaluation

What is a Voice Evaluation?

A voice evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of a patient’s voice disorder to accurately identify the underlying cause of the problem. This will help your doctor formulate a treatment plan to restore your normal voice.

Indications for Voice Evaluation

A voice evaluation is indicated if you are having significant personal, social, or professional voice handicap that is negatively impacting your life. Additionally, if you have a voice problem that has persisted beyond a few weeks and is unlikely to be just a routine cold or flu, a structural pathology of the vocal cords could be the cause and should be evaluated.

Cause of Voice Disorders

The two vocal cords present in the larynx normally meet one another in the middle and as air from the trachea pushes past the vocal cords, it generates vibration that produces voice. Disordered voices are typically a problem if the vocal cords are not closing well, not vibrating well, or not vibrating symmetrically. Anything that takes away from the normal symmetry, closure, or vibration can create voice changes.

Conditions that cause Voice Disorders

Common conditions that cause voice disorders are:

  • Vocal cord paralysis or weakness
  • Laryngitis
  • Muscle tension dysphonia
  • Neurological voice disorder, for example spasmodic dysphonia
  • Polyps, cysts, or nodules on the vocal cords
  • Precancerous and cancerous lesions

What happens during a Voice Evaluation?

During a voice evaluation, your doctor will try to find out as much as possible about your voice problem and all the factors contributing to it. The doctor will talk to you about the onset and history of your voice problem, any associated medical problems you have, and what medications you are taking. The doctor will observe your voice in a variety of conditions including conversing, singing, reading, and holding sounds. The doctor will evaluate the quality of your voice, the pitch and loudness level and your breathing pattern.

The voice evaluation will often include a laryngovideostroboscopy. This is a diagnostic procedure that uses an endoscope, a tube like instrument with a miniature camera attached to a strobe light to look at your larynx so the doctor can study the appearance, motion, closure, and vibration of your vocal cords. The exam is usually well tolerated and can be done in the doctor’s office within a few minutes. It provides a lot of information about the nature of the voice difficulty.

Importance of Voice Evaluation

Once your doctor is able to understand why your voice is not working the way it should, the appropriate treatment plan can be decided. Depending on the diagnosis, the treatment is often multidisciplinary involving a speech and language pathologist to address voice therapy and vocal behaviours and possibly surgery to improve laryngeal function.

Location & DirectionsENT Jacksonville

1370 13th Avenue South, Suite 115 Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

  • American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
  • American College of Surgeons
  • Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Miller School of Medicine