Having trouble speaking clearly can prevent a person from fully communicating with family and friends.
Our licensed and certified audiologists and speech/language pathologists work with other WVU doctors to provide the highest quality patient care. With our help, you can achieve a level of communicating that will enrich your life to the fullest.
Closed Head Injury
Communication skills often change after a person suffers a closed head injury. Common difficulties can include:
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty forming thoughts
- Acting impulsively
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor memory
The Speech Clinic at the Physician Office Center offers speech/language therapy to patients while they are hospitalized and also as out-patients after they go home. Family members are included to encourage use of newly learned skills in everyday situations.
If you have cancer of the voice box and must have a laryngectomy, you will be seen by a speech/language pathologist for counseling before surgery. Family members are also encouraged to attend. The pathologist will review the changes that will occur during your surgery and discuss options for communicating after the surgery.
Speech therapy begins several days after surgery. You will be provided with an electrolarynx and taught how to use it. You also will be given instructions about post-operative care and about changes to your senses and abilities, such as smelling, tasting, and swallowing.
A tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) is a surgical technique that directs air from the lungs up through the esophagus, allowing you to produce sound and, ultimately, speech. A TEP can be done at the time of the cancer surgery or several months later.
Once the site is healed, a speech pathologist fits your prosthetic device, works with you to achieve good voicing, and trains you how to take care of the device.
Spasmodic dysphonia is a voice disorder characterized by a strained and strangled-sounding voice.
Along with speech therapy, the treatment for spasmodic dysphonia used today is botulinum toxin injected into the vocal cords. This therapy provides temporary relief and lessens the strained voice quality. Most people require repeat injections every 3 to 6 months.
We use our voices every day and take them for granted as our means of communicating. However, voicing is a highly coordinated activity. Typical complaints about voices include a hoarse or raspy voice or a change in vocal quality.
Common problems that may affect your voice include:
- Vocal cord nodules
- Contact ulcers
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Cancer of the larynx
A thorough evaluation is important to learn what the problem is and what to do about it.
If you have voice problems, you will be evaluated using a technique that allows us to see detail and subtle movements of the vocal cords that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The examination is videotaped and reviewed later by you and your physician. This video provides visual feedback, helping you to understand your vocal cord problem, plus it can help you stick with your treatment plan.
Together, you, your doctor, and your speech/language pathologist work to obtain your best possible voice quality.