Voice and Swallowing Appointments
Voice and Swallowing specialists at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, see patients with concerns related to speaking and voice, as well as swallowing disorders.
Your Voice and Swallowing Evaluation
Our evaluations typically require a two- or three-hour visit, as multiple tests may be necessary to better understand your symptoms and concerns. Ultimately each evaluation is tailored to you.
New patients will be sent a form in the mail to fill out and complete. Please complete the form at home and bring it to your scheduled appointment. If you do not receive a form, please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to our appointment to complete the appropriate form:
- New Patients with Voice Concerns (pdf)
- New Patients: Performers with Voice Concerns (pdf)
- New Patients with Breathing and/or Cough Concerns (pdf)
- New Patients with Swallowing Concerns (pdf)
Returning patients who have a follow-up appointment should complete a form before their scheduled visit or arrive in the clinic at least 15 minutes before a scheduled appointment to fill out one of our return visit forms:
- Returning Patients with Voice Concerns (pdf)
- Returning Patients: Performers with Voice Concerns (pdf)
- Returning Patients with Breathing and/or Cough-related Concerns (pdf)
- Returning Patients with Swallowing Concerns (pdf)
Speech Pathology Assessments
You will be greeted by a speech pathologist and taken into a private clinic room to discuss your history and your voice, swallowing or airway concerns. Testing and further imaging related to your voicing, swallowing or airway function is tailored to your specific concerns and symptoms.
- You will be asked to complete a series of diagnostic voice parameters.
- Your larynx will either be visualized using a rigid endoscope or a flexible endoscope.
- Your appointment will last approximately 60 minutes. Following your appointment, you will be directed to the Otolaryngology Clinic for a scheduled, 60-minute appointment. The speech pathologist and otolaryngologist will review your history, testing results and laryngeal video and discuss the best plan of care.
- Your entire voice visit appointment will last approximately two hours.
Airway concerns (breathing, coughing and throat clearing):
- Your larynx will be visualized using either a rigid or flexible endoscope.
- Therapy may be introduced to help you better understand and manage these symptoms.
- Your appointment with the speech language pathologist will last approximately 90 minutes. If you are scheduled to see an otolaryngologist, the speech pathologist and otolaryngologist will review your history, testing results and laryngeal video, and discuss the best plan of care.
- All swallowing evaluations are scheduled with a speech pathologist who specializes in swallowing.
- If you are coming for a videoflouroscopic swallow study or dysphagia evaluation, you will be seen on the third floor in the Radiology Clinic. All other appointments are on the second floor in the ENT Clinic.
- The speech pathologist performing your evaluation will review the answers from your questionnaire and get any other relevant history prior to beginning your evaluation.
- A variety of techniques are used to diagnose dysphagia, including videofluoroscopic swallow studies, flexible endoscopic evaluations, and high-resolution pharyngeal manometry.
Treatment plans, including the frequency, duration and goals of treatment, are tailored to the patient based on the individual needs of the patient. Some patients come for evaluation and hope for all the instruction and materials they will need to complete treatment at home. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible. Many of our treatments involve gradual changes to behavior and muscle strength or coordination for voice, swallowing or breathing. Be patient and stay with us!
If treatment has been recommended, we encourage you to follow up with us or a treatment provider we have recommended. Common treatment approaches for swallowing conditions include:
- Diet modifications
- Feeding strategies
- Swallow therapy
- Voice therapy and intensive voice therapy
- Perioperative voice therapy
In some cases, medical or surgical interventions may also be indicated.