Latest technology shines light on vocal-cord trouble

Voice problems are obvious to the ear, but not always to the eye.

Tiny polyps that attach to the vocal cords, for example, can cause conditions such as an ongoing weak, strained or breathy voice.

Fortunately, state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment allows voice specialists to see exactly what the problem is more effectively than ever.

“Videostroboscopy provides a magnified, slow-motion view of a person’s vocal cords that allows us to better diagnose the problem than traditional endoscopic methods,” says Dr. Ted Mau, director of the Clinical Center for Voice Care at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The procedure involves placing a telescope-like device on the tongue. The scope shines a strobe light on the vocal cords while the patient makes sounds. The videotaped exam is then reviewed with the patient.

This gold-standard technique can help laryngologists see scarring, inflammation, broken vessels or abnormal motion that can result in poor vocal sound. In addition, therapies can be determined to improve vocal delivery based on the diagnostic video – an additional benefit to singers, lawyers, teachers and others who depend on a strong voice, Dr. Mau says.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in voice care.

April 16 is World Voice Day.

Media Contact: Russell Rian

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