Perceptual Voice EvaluationA comprehensive voice evaluation requires several components. The first and most important component is a complete history of the voice problem. This includes background, medical history, lifestyle, eating habits, medications, voice use and any strategies used to reduce or help with the problem.
Throughout the evaluation the Perceptual Voice Evaluation (listening) is ongoing. Speech-language pathologists are trained to identify normal and abnormal voice characteristics and can judge voice quality including breath control for speech, resonance, pitch, loudness and the melody and rate of speech.
Digital Laryngeal Stroboscopy (DLS)Voice evaluation using DLS permits observation of how the vocal folds move. DLS creates a slow-motion view allowing examination of the vocal folds to clearly identify smaller abnormalities in vocal fold movement unable to be observed using any other technique.
A fiberoptic micro-camera is placed in the person's mouth or passed painlessly through the nose. The camera looks down the person's throat at the action of the vocal folds. The vocal folds are immediately displayed on a monitor and recorded. Movements of the vocal folds as well as disorders and pathologies can be readily viewed.
Most importantly, proper viewing of vocal fold movement guides precise treatment to produce the most effective and cost effective treatment.
Computerized Voice AnalysisUsing sophisticated computer programs. the voice is analyzed based on pitches appropriate for men and women. Then speaking into a microphone, immediate visible feedback is provided on the pitch, quality and loudness of the voice. This allows patients to actually "see" their voices on a computer screen and often, for the first time, they are able to begin to modify how to use appropriate voicing.
Computerized analysis can also assess breathiness of voice, which relates to how well vocal cords are coming together, and calculates the percentage of voiced versus unvoiced sounds in a sample of speech. The patient then varies his or her voice while looking at a computer screen until the voice and pitch reach an acceptable range. This helps the patient learn to effectively modulate his or her voice using visually computerized feedback to more rapidly improve voice use.
This analysis provides valuable information about voice function to assist in evaluation, treatment and to objectively measure voice change and progress.
The Voice and Swallowing Center can be contacted by telephone at (207) 505-4409 or by email at [email protected]
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