What’s Going on With My Voice? Videostroboscopy Can Help!
Is your voice not what it used to be?
Are you losing your voice frequently, experiencing hoarseness, or persistent strain?
Has an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT) indicated that nothing is wrong with your vocal cords themselves?
A videostroboscopy assessment will provide a more detailed analysis of your vocal cords while you are producing sound and will help give you information on what is causing your voice issues so that changes can be made.
WHAT EXACTLY IS VIDEOSTROBOSCOPY?
Videostroboscopy is a much more sensitive tool and more helpful in identifying subtle issues happening with the voice compared to other techniques, such as rigid or flexible transnasal laryngoscopy with continuous light sources (these tools are used through the nasal cavity). Videostroboscopy (through the mouth) provides a more detailed view than these other techniques and can reveal problems with the vocal cords such as growths, or irregularities in the vibration pattern or movement of the cords themselves. Muscles surrounding the cords are viewed to see if they are working when voicing occurs. The color of the cords and surrounding muscles is viewed to see if there is redness or swelling, and you can see if one cord is engaging more than another to make the voice work. Videostroboscopy provides key elements in voice assessment to assist in a plan for voice recovery.
HOW DOES VIDEOSTROBOSCOPY WORK?
Videostroboscopy uses a flashing light source to create a slow motion view of vocal cord vibration. Vocal cord vibration is very fast – the “slow motion” view is actually taken from many successive rounds of vibration. This unique viewing allows the voice care team to look at how each vocal cord vibrates during the different phases of the vocal cord’s vibration cycle, allowing for clear identification of smaller abnormalities in vocal cord movement that are unable to be observed using any other technique. From this information, therapy sessions to improve voice use can be prepared so that your intervention can be individualized and suited to your own specific needs.
Here is an example of a videostroboscopy analysis and how it looks when the vocal cords are viewed this way.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR VIDEOSTROBOSCOPY?
Videostroboscopy is highly recommended when a voice disorder is due to abnormalities that affect vocal cord vibration. These abnormalities can include:
- vocal cord scarring
- a mass (cyst, polyp, nodule)
- incomplete closure of the vocal cords
- abnormal vocal cord vibration
- asymmetrical/uneven movement of the vocal cords
At S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks we have a comprehensive Voice Lab where our voice team will assess your needs using both instrumental and non-instrumental equipment. Our Voice Lab offers state-of-the-art videostroboscopy equipment to fully analyze your vocal issues. Call us today or check out our voice lab for more information.
Linda Saarenvirta is a speech-language pathologist who has been practicing for over 20 years in the healthcare field. She has worked with a variety of communication disorders and clients of all ages. She is extremely passionate about voice therapy and enjoys helping clients achieve their vocal needs. Her client centered approach to therapy ensures all clients maximize their potential and achieve their goals.