The vocal cords are a group of muscles located in the larynx. As air passes over them they vibrate, making sound. Improper use can cause vocal fatigue and lead to a host of voiceproblems. We all experience vocal issues occasionally, most of them minor. Excessive talking or screaming, exposure to smoke and other irritants, colds, allergies, and upper respiratory infections can all cause hoarseness, a temporary condition that is more an annoyance than anything else. Continuing to use your voice inefficiently – speaking too loudly or quietly, using the wrong pitch, excessive cell phone usage – may lead to more serious problems. Polyps, nodules, and lesions; vocal cord hemorrhaging and paralysis; and acute and chronic laryngitis are all associated with vocal cord misuse. If you are experiencing a vocal disorder you may benefit from the services we provide here at the Northwestern University Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning (NUCASLL).
Voice Evaluations with a Speech-Language Pathology Team
The voice specialists at the Northwestern University Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning can provide an in-depth assessment of your voice through standardized voice evaluation measures. During an evaluation, our clinicians will take your history, determine your concern with your voice, and complete formal testing. A voice evaluation will provide a quantitative and qualitative analysis measure of voice quality, pitch, resonance, and loudness. Evaluations are also offered for individuals who may be at risk for developing a voice disorder and desire baseline measurements and general information regarding healthy use and care of the voice.
If a more in depth assessment is required whereby a visualization of the vocal cords is needed, it may be recommended that you schedule an appointment in our interdisciplinary Voice Clinic (below).
Once you have received an evaluation, our specialists may recommended follow up treatment. Our treatment sessions are individualized and based on your evaluation results. Sessions are tailored to the needs of each client using goal-driven activities. Sessions often include simulated experiences to help clients improve effectiveness when speaking or singing.
Voice and Communication Service
Voice and communication therapy is also available for transgender persons looking to enhance communication skills.
American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery: World Voice Day