ENT Specialists, working with highly trained speech pathologists, provide exceptional care for people with varying voice needs such as professional voice users, teachers, pediatric voice patients and singers of all skill levels. Some of the most common symptoms of our voice patients include hoarseness, chronic cough, chronic throat clearing, changes in voice quality and breathing problems known as vocal cord dysfunction.
Vocal Cord Dysfunction
Known as Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM), vocal cord dysfunction can be described as an abnormal closure of the vocal cords during the breathing cycle, particularly during inhalation. Vocal cord dysfunction is sometimes misdiagnosed as asthma. PVFM symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath, especially when inhaling.
- Tightening in the throat and/or chest.
- Occasional wheezing or stridor.
- Often associated with cough.
- Sometimes triggered by physical exertion.
- Symptoms are usually experienced as “episodes,” which gradually pass.
The good news is that with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can manage PVFM effectively.
The vibrations of the vocal cords are much too rapid to be observed by the unaided eye under a constant light source. Videostroboscopy is one of the most practical methods for viewing and recording the motion of the vocal cords by illuminating the larynx with brief pulses of light, allowing for an accurate, detailed assessment of vocal cord movement during speaking or singing. A digital computer and strobe light are used to make the images of these vibrations appear in slow motion enabling detection of any abnormal patterns of vibration. This procedure provides real-time and slow-motion video of the vocal cords in action to provide a better understanding of the functions of the vocal cords, as well as an indication of what changes need to be made in order to treat the problem. Digital video recordings made before and after voice or medical treatment can be compared in order to evaluate a patient’s progress. A physician referral/order from an ENT, pulmonologist or allergist is required for testing.
What to expect during the procedure…
- While the entire appointment and evaluation may take up to an hour, the videostroboscopy examination performed by a licensed speech pathologist with special training in voice disorders only takes about 10-15 minutes. A rigid telescope is placed into the mouth, or a small flexible telescope is placed into the nose. You will be asked to say various sounds and a moving picture of the vocal cords will be displayed on a television monitor. The recording will be replayed later, and the anatomy will be explained to you in detail. The exam is not painful, but you may feel a gagging sensation or have the urge to swallow. A light spray of topical anesthetic may be used if needed but no sedation is involved.
Call Sound Health Services for more information or to schedule an appointment.