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Voice and Swallowing Disorders

 

A regional center of excellence, UC San Diego Health offers a multidisciplinary approach to care for complex disorders of the voice and swallowing systems. At the forefront of clinical research, our team offers a wide range of state-of-the-art surgical and behavioral therapy options to help restore and optimize the ability to talk, eat and breathe.

Consultation

During your initial consultation, you will undergo a comprehensive evaluation that will include:

  • Complete medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Possible endoscopic evaluation of the vocal fold (either transoral or transnasal endoscopy or videostroboscopy) 

Our team will use this information to create a diagnostic and therapeutic plan tailored to your specific needs.

Learn about all of the voice and swallowing disorders we treat by clicking the tabs below.

Voice Disorders

A voice disorder is a voice that sounds out of the ordinary or calls attention to itself due to problems with pitch, loudness or quality. Many things can cause vocal changes, including growths, overuse, neurological disorders, and post-surgical effects.

Common voice disorder symptoms:

  • Hoarseness
  • Strain
  • Throat pain
  • Recurring voice loss
  • Breathiness
  • Change in pitch range
  • Change in pitch steadiness
  • Pitch breaks
  • Fatigue after speaking
  • Inability to speak loudly
  • Running out of air when speaking
  • Frequent cough, throat clearing
  • Sudden inability to breathe in

Our multidisciplinary team treats a wide range of voice disorders including:

  • Benign vocal fold lesions
  • Chronic cough
  • Professional voice and singing difficulty
  • Laryngeal tumors and dysplasia
  • Laryngitis
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux
  • Neurological voice abnormalities (vocal tremor, spasmodic dysphonia)
  • Paradoxical vocal fold movement / vocal cord dysfunction
  • Vocal fold immobility (full and partial paralysis)
  • Vocal fold atrophy

If diagnosed early, most voice disorders can be successfully treated. We use lifestyle changes, medicines, leading-edge therapy, and minimally invasive surgery to address voice disorders. Your tailored treatment plan may include:

  • Medication management of reflux, allergies, candidiasis, laryngitis, or cough
  • Voice therapy techniques:
    • Laryngeal desensitization
    • Reconditioning vocal tone and range
    • Biofeedback endoscopy
    • Changing voice prostheses
    • Heart rate variability biofeedback
    • Myofascial release
    • Neurological regimens (LSVT)
    • Identification and remediation of habits that worsen the voice
    • Modifying technique of how voice is produced to improve tone, quality, throat comfort, speaking endurance, and singing ability
  • Minimally invasive and office-based procedures, such as:
    • Laryngeal electromyography
    • Laryngoscopy and tracheobronchoscopy
    • Videostroboscopy
    • Vocal fold injection medialization
    • Laryngeal Botox for laryngeal dystonia and tremor
    • KTP laser treatment for papilloma, glottic dysplasia/cancer, granuloma
    • Microflap excision of laryngeal lesions

Tour the Center for Voice and Swallowing

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Appointments & Referrals

Locations

La Jolla

Meet Our Team