Who's on your team?
What happens if you feel like you have a voice problem? Who is on your care team?
Read below to learn about the various roles of voice care team members.
The #1 member of the voice team is YOU, the person seeking voice care.
A laryngologist is an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor with specialized training in voice.
If you are exepriencing a voice problem, seek out a fellowship trained laryngologist.
If you are a singer or an actor, seek out a laryngolgist who specifically works with professional voice.
Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
A healthy speaking voice is essential to all voice professionals.
If you are referred to voice therapy after a diagnosis, you should seek out a SLP with experience in professional voice.
While speech language pathologists cannot make a diagnosis, they are licensed medical professionals with specialized training in voice rehabilitation. SLPs are an essential part of your voice team!
Singing Voice Specialist/Vocologist
The role of the voice teacher in building healthy technique and counseling singers through voice problems is essential. However, it is important to note that a voice teacher cannot diagnose a voice problem (only an ENT is qualified to do that). Likewise, a voice teacher cannot rehabilitate an injured voice, unless that teacher is also a licensed SLP.
Voice Habilitation vs. Voice Rehabilitation
Voice habilitation is the practice of training, educating, and strengthening the uninjured voice to prevent or reduce voice problems.
Voice rehabilitation is the practice of helping an injured voice recover and restore function through therapy, training, and education.
While some voice teachers have specialized training in voice habilitation (a field known as "vocology"), only a licensed speech language pathologist is qualified to rehabilitate an injured or disordered voice.
Understanding Video Stroboscopy
If you go to a voice clinic for an exam, you will most likely have a procedure called video stroboscopy. This is a process where a special scope with a camera is placed at the back of the mouth (rigid scope) or passed through the nose (flexible scope) in order for the health professional to view the vocal folds.
This video from the University of Kansas Medical Center walks you through a typical video stroboscopy with a flexible scope.