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Your First Visit to the UPMC Voice Center

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At the UPMC Voice Center, our team of voice care experts works closely to assess and treat you with the best possible level of care.

Here's what you can expect at your first appointment.

Your Medical History

During your first office visit, we ask you to complete a:

  • Medical background and family history questionnaire to gain insight into any problems that might contribute to your current voice disorder or condition.
  • A series of questionnaires to assess your voice/breathing/cough/singing problem.

We will ask you to provide a list of prescription, over-the-counter, and alternative medications that you take.

In addition, your otolaryngologist at the Voice Center may ask about:

  • Your voice use
  • Vocal training
  • Any swallowing or breathing problems

The Voice Exam

Your doctor and a speech-language pathologist will start by carefully listening to your voice and may ask you to repeat some specially worded phrases. This allows the speech-language pathologist to assess the vocal problem further.

The speech-language pathologist will perform a voice recording and analysis. These high quality recordings of your voice allow for computer-assisted analysis and quantitative measurement of various voice parameters.

Acoustic and airflow testing can be helpful by providing another measurement of your perceived voice problems.

In addition, the speech-language pathologist may ask you to do some voice exercises to see if they can help your voice disorder.

The Physical Exam

Your doctor at the Voice Center will examine your head and neck, including:

  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Sinuses
  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Larynx (voice box)

There are several ways to view the larynx, including:

To inspect your salivary glands and thyroid, your doctor will press on certain places on your neck to feel for enlarged lymph nodes or masses. This may also reveal pain or tension in the larynx muscles.

Your doctor will also check the major nerves (called cranial nerves II through XII) that control your:

  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Eye and facial movements
  • Speech and swallowing

If there is concern that your voice problem has a neurologic cause, you may need to schedule another visit to the Voice Center for a laryngeal electromyogram (EMG).

An EMG assesses the nerve signals to the muscles of the larynx. It's similar to an electrocardiogram (EKG).

The Results of Your Visit to the Voice Center

You will receive a detailed report of the findings of exam.

Your doctor at the Voice Center will discuss treatment options, give you a defined treatment plan, and take the time to fully answer any questions you may have.

Depending on your treatment plan, the doctor may:

  • Prescribe medicine or schedule therapy.
  • Order x-rays or a repeat laryngeal exam while swallowing if you have a related swallowing problem.
  • Schedule CT scans to provide further diagnostic information.
  • Refer you to a singing voice specialist for further evaluation.

Make an Appointment at the Voice Center

To make an appointment, contact the UPMC Voice Center at 412-232-SING (7464).

Learn More About Voice Disorders

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From our Health Library:

From the Voice Foundation:

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