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UR Medicine


Autoimmune Disorders

An autoimmune disorder (AD) occurs when the body's immune system is overresponsive, and attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders. ADs that are most commonly related to voice changes include myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome. 

How do autoimmune disorders impact the voice? 

Some ADs can negatively affect the voice by targeting the joints, muscles, nerves, and/or surface tissues of the throat and larynx.  Changes in these tissues can result in changes to vocal quality, vocal fatigue, and/or discomfort with voice use.  Persons with autoimmune changes to their throat and larynx may also experience difficulty swallowing.

Speech-Language Pathology Evaluation & Treatment

Our Speech-Language Pathologists, who have specialty training and expertise in the assessment and treatment of voice disorders, will complete a personalized assessment of your voice. Assessment will include:

  • A detailed history collection
  • Laryngeal Function Studies consisting of computerized voice analysis and airway measures
  • Behavioral voice and communication analysis
  • Stimulability trials

If you are recommended for voice therapy, your therapy program may include some or all of the following techniques:

  • Strengthen and re-balance laryngeal and pharyngeal musculature, including the muscles, joints and ligaments used in voice production
  • Learn techniques for producing a healthy voice while eliminating overuse or abuse
  • Exercise laryngeal muscles
  • Create a healthy motor pattern and balance pressures to achieve the ideal configuration of your vocal folds for voice use

Additional Information

National Multiple Sclerosis Society:

Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America:

Arthritis Foundation:

Sjogren’s Foundation:

Lupus Foundation: