UR Medicine Voice Center
UR Medicine Voice Center provides state-of-the-art evaluation and management of individuals with voice, swallowing and airway disorders such as laryngitis, vocal nodules, vocal polyps, paradoxical vocal fold motion disorder (PVFM) / vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), chronic cough and vocal cord paralysis. Our team of specialists includes both fellowship-trained ear nose and throat physicians, speech-language pathologists and singing specialists who have specialized training in diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and work collaboratively to diagnose and treat voice and breathing disorders. Our experts are committed to providing the best possible care and treatment for individuals with voice, swallowing and airway disorders utilizing the latest surgical, nonsurgical and in-office treatment techniques.
Specializing in adults and children with voice disorders
A voice disorder can be anything that changes the way you speak or sing. Voice disorders can impact your quality of life, change the way others see you and how you feel about yourself, if left untreated. If you are experiencing hoarseness, voice strain, raspy voice, pitch changes, or it takes more effort to speak or sing, we can help. We specialize in treating adults and children with voice disorders including laryngitis, chronic hoarseness, vocal cord nodules, vocal cord lesions, vocal cord polyps, and vocal cord cysts.
Using the latest techniques and therapies, we effectively treat less common voice problems such as spasmodic dysphonia, essential voice tremor, muscle tension dysphonia, aging voice, and throat cancer and voice box cancer. We also offer surgical options to improve vocal quality if you have vocal cord paralysis. Using microsurgery, a technique proven to provide the best voice outcome, we remove growths on the vocal chords. We identify the root of your voice disorder, treat it quickly and effectively, and improve your overall vocal health.
Pediatric Voice Therapy
Our team has several speech pathologists who work with children as young as 3 years of age with a diagnosed voice or breathing disorder caused by changes to the function of the larynx (voice box), such as vocal fold nodules, vocal fold paresis, and paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM) among others. Similar to therapies for adults, voice therapy is designed to reduced excessive trauma to the vocal cords and reinforce healthy voice production. Therapy sessions teach concepts through play, and are designed to train both the child and parent/caregiver so they may be reinforced successfully at home.
Gender Affirming Voice and Communication Therapy
Our goal is to provide the tools necessary to develop voice and communication skills that represent YOU. In therapy sessions, we teach and facilitate practice of those skills in a safe environment. Our treatment space is open to the sharing of the struggles and joys inherent in transitioning the voice. We honor the unique strengths and talents that you bring to the table and acknowledge the challenges you experienced to get here.
We offer therapy services addressing:
- Body Language
- Communication Style
- Language Choice
for people anywhere on the gender spectrum whose communication does not represent them accurately
Therapy is offered in group and individual formats.
In order to address frequent insurance denials, we have created two community outreach vocal coaching groups for gender affirming voice therapy. These groups are free of charge and open to anyone whose insurance has denied our services.
SPEAK OUT! ® and The LOUD Crowd® For Patients with Parkinson's
SPEAK OUT! ® is a therapy approach for individuals with Parkinson’s disease in order to improve their voice and swallowing by making speech an intentional action. SPEAK OUT! therapy includes 12 individual sessions across 4 weeks, before participants transition to The LOUD Crowd ®. The LOUD Crowd is a group therapy approach led by a speech-language pathologist, meeting once per week after completion of SPEAK OUT! individual sessions. This provides maintenance of skills learned throughout SPEAK OUT!, and is provided by the UR Medicine Voice Center completely free of charge to SPEAK OUT! graduates. It also provides accountability, encouragement, and support between members.
Exercises include speech, voice, and cognitive exercises, and are outlined in a SPEAK OUT! workbook. Participation in SPEAK OUT! and The LOUD Crowd, as well as consistent home practice, are shown to improve clarity of speech, ability to be heard by others, and quality of life throughout the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
SPEAK OUT! and The LOUD Crowd were developed in Richardson, Texas at Parkinson Voice Project. For more information, you can visit their website HERE.
Tailored approach toward treating breathing problems
Common breathing problems treated by our team of specialists include airway stenosis, paradoxical vocal fold motion disorder and chronic coughing. Depending on the type of breathing problem, our specialists may recommend surgical intervention, medication or therapy programs designed to maximize airway opening, strengthen respiratory muscles or suppress coughing.
Evaluation & treatment of swallowing disorders
Swallowing disorders can be related to dysfunction in the mouth, pharynx or esophagus. Our team of specialists has specialized training in the evaluation and treatment of complex swallowing problems. We offer both Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES), which can be complete in our outpatient clinic, and Modified Barium Swallow Studies, completed at the East River Road Imaging Center, to help evaluate the physiology of your swallow develop the treatment plan that is right for you.
Comprehensive team of voice disorder specialists
- Fellowship-trained voice disorder specialists. We are the only voice center in Upstate New York with a comprehensive team of voice experts including ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians who are fellowship-trained in voice disorders.
- Highly specialized speech pathologists. Our speech pathologists have specialized training to evaluate and treat patients with voice problems, swallowing disorders, breathing problems and complex conditions such as voice restoration after throat cancer. Our team also includes trained singing voice specialists who are experienced performers, singers, and singing teachers who understand the challenges of being a vocal professional. They bring empathy, clinical expertise, and an insider perspective to evaluating and improving your vocal health. They also provide specialized therapy to performers and singers.
- Less invasive techniques. We use less invasive techniques including office-based laser surgery to treat a variety of vocal disorders. We offer a variety of surgical options for vocal cord paralysis. We also provide Botox injections for spasmodic dysphonia.
- Coordinated care. Voice disorders may result from a variety of medical conditions, including allergies and asthma. We coordinate your care with the right specialists throughout our health system to ensure you receive the best therapies to minimize your symptoms, improve your voice, and optimize your recovery.
- Treatment for all laryngeal conditions. Your voice box, or larynx, is responsible for your voice, your ability to swallow, and your airway or breathing passage. Our doctors and speech pathologists treat voice, upper airway breathing problems such as paradoxical vocal fold motion disorder (PVFM)/ vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), and swallowing.
- Professional vocal performer services. We provide the highest level of expert care for all vocal performers, from elite professionals who need immediate voice care services to those who sing for enjoyment.
- Better voice treatment decisions. Our ongoing research ensures you receive the best care for your vocal disorder.