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Patient Resources

The Stanford Voice and Swallowing Center offers an extensive online resource of general health information. Please do not substitute information on this website for professional advice, a diagnosis of your condition, or a recommendation about the course of treatment for your particular circumstances. This information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of what you have read on this website.

What is a Laryngologist?

A laryngologist is a physician who has completed otolaryngology – head and neck surgery (ENT) residency training and further fellowship training specifically in laryngology / bronchoesophagology.  Laryngology with bronchoesophagology focuses on treatment of disorders of voice, swallowing, and the airway.

How are voice and speech produced?

The human voice is produced by a combination of power generated from the lungs, sound vibrations from the larynx (voice box) and modification of the sound by the upper airway.

It begins with exhalation of air from the lungs into the trachea. The vocal folds (vocal cords) are “V”-shaped folds of tissue within the larynx. The vocal folds are brought together as the air travels up from the trachea into the larynx. When the air passes between the vocal folds it causes them to vibrate and generate sound waves.

The frequency (pitch) of the sound can be adjusted by changing the length and tension of the vocal folds. The sound is modified by the pharynx (throat), nasal cavity, sinuses, palate, tongue, teeth and lips to form vowels and consonants, which then are used to form words.

Any disruption in movement of the vocal folds or lesions on the vocal folds will affect the sound produced and manifest as hoarseness.

"The Aging Voice" Presentation

  • Understand the anatomy of the voice box (larynx)
  • Understand the development of the human larynx
  • Understand several basic concepts in the production of the human voice
  • Describe the changes that occur to the aging larynx
  • Understand the impact of neurological disease on the aging larynx
     

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