Intended for healthcare professionals


Voice pathology in the United Kingdom

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 04 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:514
  1. Paul Carding, professor of voice pathology
  1. Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN

    Technological advances set the stage for more research to compliment clinical services

    Each year over 50 000 patients with dysphonia (“voice problems”) are referred by their general practitioners to otolaryngology or voice clinics in the United Kingdom.1 The cause of dysphonia is often multifactorial and extends far beyond the identification of disease.2 Differential diagnosis requires a laryngology or special voice pathology team, which includes speech therapists who specialise in voice disorders. Complex problems may require involving other specialties such as neurology, gastroenterology, psychology, psychiatry, and respiratory medicine.2 Voice clinic services continue to develop, following a variety of designs in order to meet clinical need. Acknowledgement of the need for high quality voice pathology services in the United Kingdom is increasing.3

    Most voice pathology is the result of aberrant vocal use.1 4 Poor vocal technique, vocal hygiene (due to smoking, dehydration, and abusive behaviour), and repeated laryngeal infection may result in deteriorating quality of the voice, vocal fatigue, and vocal strain.4 Patients with chronic problems develop symptoms such …

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