Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Speech and Swallowing Problems
Our ear, nose and throat experts including our speech pathologists treat many voice and swallowing disorders. We have introduced electrical stimulation for swallowing disorders, a promising new treatment for dysphagia.
Learn more about our services or schedule a visit:
- Upper airway breathing disorders
- Dysphagia (swallowing difficulty caused by nerve or muscle problems often following a stroke or cancer treatment)
The multidisciplinary team at Penn State Health helps manage all conditions related to voice and swallowing. Our specialists work with speech and language pathologists to evaluate voice disorders. We work with colleagues in gastroenterology to manage complex swallowing disorders.
The laryngology team treats all voice disorders affecting speech production. Patients are evaluated with a detailed history and examination using specialized equipment like an endoscopic videostroboscopic evaluation of the larynx (voice box) to improve diagnosis and treatment.
Many individuals with voice disorders require speech therapy as a component of their treatment. In order to provide the best possible results, the laryngology team also includes speech and language pathologists who will assist in patient recovery.
Our team works to determine the proper course of treatment for your swallowing difficulties. You may need certain tests to determine the cause of your swallowing difficulties. Tests include a modified barium swallow (X-ray test to determine location and nature of swallowing issue) or functional endoscopic evaluation of swallowing to observe the swallowing process.
Once the cause is determined, our laryngology team will create a treatment plan that may include medications, speech and swallowing therapies or more advanced techniques like including biofeedback and deep pharyngeal neuromuscular stimulation (DPNS). For select issues, surgery may be an option.
Specialization for laryngectomees
After the removal of the larynx, we also offer a comprehensive program for laryngectomee. This includes pre and post-operative counseling, voice prosthesis management and vocal rehabilitation. During the presurgical counseling process, speech pathologists and surgeons work with you to identify the best rehabilitation options, which could include electrolarynx, esophageal speech or tracheoesophageal puncture prosthesis.
Speech and swallowing rehabilitative techniques may be taught to laryngectomees through speech therapy sessions scheduled here at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Our team also cares for the issues unique to those who have had or need to have their larynx removed (i.e. laryngectomy).