Specialized Voice Care Program Fact Sheet
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Voice care at UK HealthCare
The Clinical Voice Center offers a full range of audiology services including a comprehensive voice program that provides services to patients of all ages.
UK HealthCare offers the only specialized voice care program in Kentucky, headed by Sanford Archer, MD. This comprehensive program includes a voice care team of specialists from a variety of disciplines.
After an evaluation by Dr. Archer, voice patients are examined by a speech language pathologist from UK's College of Allied Health who evaluates the voice and recommends therapy. Vocal coaches from the UK College of Fine Arts instruct the patient in effective breathing methods using the correct muscles.
Who needs treatment?
As the only physician in the region that focuses on vocal care, Dr. Archer's patients represent a diverse spectrum of needs. "We don't just treat singers," said Dr. Archer. "We treat many types of voice professionals including lawyers, actors, teachers, ministers and TV and radio personalities."
Voice treatments are essential at all stages of life. The voice program treats pediatric and geriatric patients. Constricted airways in newborns and babies are often cause for examination. Many Fayette County school students are examined before enrollment in a speech program. Vocal nodules, referred to as "screamers," are frequently treated in young children.
"Vocal treatment is especially important in older patients, because both hearing and speaking capabilities decline," said Dr. Archer. Geriatric patients experience more strain in their voices, due to the bowing of the V-shaped vocal folds.
Common vocal disorders
Four of the most common vocal disorders include acute laryngitis; vocal trauma resulting from lecturing or singing; vocal irritation from smoking, which can lead to chronic laryngitis; and silent acid reflux disease, indicated by persistent hoarseness. In all cases, treatments should be administered after a thorough examination.
Key to diagnosis
In order to fully assess these disorders, the voice program utilizes videostroboscopy, which provides an accurate evaluation of the movement/vibration of the patient's vocal folds. The folds vibrate faster than the human eye can detect. Videostroboscopy picks up the frequency of the patient's voice and triggers a stroboscopic light source. The light flash frequency equal to the vocal frequency will produce a still image of the vibratory cycle. The video playback provides a detailed recording of the patient's voice, and the disorder can be easily identified. "We have the latest version of the best equipment," noted Dr. Archer.
Tips to prevent voice problems
- Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake. They cause the body to lose water and dry out the voice.
- Drink six to eight glasses of water a day.
- Don't smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Avoid eating spicy foods. They can cause the stomach acid to move into the esophagus, causing acid reflux.
- Do not cradle the phone when talking. This can cause muscle tension in the neck.
- Avoid mouthwash that contain alcohol or irritating chemicals. If gargling is necessary, use a salt water solution.
- Exercise regularly, this increases stamina and muscle tone and helps provide good posture and breathing, which are necessary for proper speaking.
UK HealthCare Voice Program
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
American Academy of Otolaryngology