Children's Hospital Colorado
Ear, Nose and Throat
Ear, Nose and Throat

The Voice Clinic

The Voice Clinic offers both medical and therapeutic treatments for a wide variety of voice disorders. This means that your child is seen by both a physician and a specially trained type of speech therapist – a voice therapist.

The Voice Clinic may be right for your child if you or their provider is noticing a hoarse voice or the loss of a voice or if the speech sounds all seem to come through the child’s nose.

The clinic treats voice disorders resulting from congenital causes, infectious disease, inflammatory conditions, benign and malignant vocal cord growths, neuromuscular disorders and trauma. Special times are scheduled for children with 22 q del syndrome.

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado?

Families choose Children’s Colorado for their voice care for several reasons. One of the most important is that we have the smallest scopes available to do fiberoptic exams on patients of all ages, from infants to teenagers. This means that there is less discomfort during the examination.

Another technology we have is a nasometer that measures how much air comes through the nose instead of the mouth while a child is talking. This fun test helps to determine how significant a voice disorder is and can be used to check for improvement after therapy or surgery.

Having a pediatric ENT physician and pediatric voice therapist also means that your child’s voice problem will be evaluated by voice specialists who know kids and teens voice issues which are commonly very different from voice issues in adults.

Beyond the physical benefits of treatment, early intervention in voice disorders can build a child’s self-confidence, improve school performance and provide extracurricular opportunities in such areas as speech and music.

What to expect in the Voice Clinic

Assessment of pediatric voice disorders is accomplished through computerized speech analysis, nasometry, videonasendoscopy, vidoelaryngoscopy and/or videostroboscopy:

  • The speech analysis is performed by having the child speak into a microphone while recording their sounds into a special program.
  • If the child needs nasometry, the microphone is placed on a platform just under the child’s nose while sound and airflow is measured.
  • Videoendoscopy is performed with a small fiberoptic scope, which slips into the nose while the patient watches themselves talk – inside out– on a video screen. Palate movement evaluation, adenoid size and velopharyngeal closure is seen as the child repeats phrases like “pick up the baby” and “go get a cake” with nasendoscopy.
  • Vocal fold movement, evaluation for nodules, masses and/or redness and swelling is accomplished with laryngoscopy. The scope is advanced a little further and the vocal folds and larynx come into view. Kids are asked to repeat “ahh” sounds and sing up and down pitches. Singing “Happy Birthday” to themselves is a common way the exam is ended. A report with photos from the endoscopy is given to the patient and family at the end of the exam. Medications, voice therapy or surgical treatment can be started or scheduled.

In addition to assessment and specific treatment for voice disorders, the clinic may call in other pediatric specialists to provide care in cases with complicating pathologies, such as hearing impairments and cerebral palsy.