Diagnosing Voice, Breathing, & Swallowing Disorders

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Our ear, nose, and throat experts have access to the latest tools and technology to help them make the most accurate diagnosis and create effective treatment plans for your voice, swallowing, and breathing disorders.

Checking Voice Problems

We strive to make sure you get the right diagnosis and personalized treatment that works. That means we'll spend lots of time listening as we go over the history of your condition and paying careful attention to the subtle sounds in your throat to lead us to the right diagnosis. 

Your visit also includes:

  • A thorough exam of your head and neck to rule out infection and cancer 
  • An exam with a scope (laryngoscopy/stroboscopy) to check your the vocal cords (also known as vocal folds)

Advanced Voice Diagnostics 

We can accurately measure your vocal vibrations, acoustics, airflow, and electrical signals. Using these detailed measurements, we can pinpoint your condition and figure out the right treatment for you. Our diagnostic tools include:

  • High-definition video recordings of the vibration of your vocal cords and voice box (called a videostroboscopy)
  • Laryngeal electromyography to test electric signals in the muscles in your voice box

Testing for Swallowing Disorders

Swallowing is a complex process. It involves a large area of your body.  Swallowing problems can result from disorders in your:

  • Mouth
  • Throat (oropharynx)
  • Voice box (larynx)
  • Swallowing tube (esophagus)

Swallowing problems might include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Esophageal scar (strictures)
  • Tight swallowing muscles (cricopharyngeal muscle bar/hypertrophy)
  • Cancer
  • Neurologic disorders

Advanced Swallowing Diagnostics

Testing your swallow function helps us spot the issue and figure out the right course of action. Since there is such a large area responsible for swallowing, we sometimes need to do several types of tests to make the correct diagnosis. A swallowing therapist might use these exams during a clinical swallowing evaluation:

  • Acid reflux pH testing
  • Barium swallow test
  • Esophageal manometry
  • Esophagoscopy and transnasal esophagoscopy (TNE)
  • Flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES)
  • Video fluoroscopic swallowing studies (VFSS)

Diagnosing Breathing Issues

Some breathing problems are caused by disorders of the upper airway blocking air from getting into the lungs. Your upper airway includes your:

  • Throat (oropharynx)
  • Voice box (larynx)
  • Windpipe (trachea)

Disorders affecting the upper airway might come from:

  • Scarring in the upper airway (tracheal stenosis, laryngeal stenosis, subglottic stenosis, posterior glottic stenosis)
  • Cancer
  • Neurologic disorders

Checking a breathing problem often includes:

  • Careful review of the history of the problem
  • Physical exam
  • Review of any outside testing
  • In-office pulmonary function testing
  • Diagnostic scope exam (laryngoscopy) to view the upper airway