Expert care for voice and swallowing problems

Although it may sound like your child has swallowed a frog, a hoarse voice could be caused by a number of health problems. While the most common cause of hoarseness is laryngitis, a temporary swelling of the voice box that typically occurs with a cold or allergies, it may also result from nodules (growths) on the larynx, stomach acid irritating the throat due to gastroesophageal reflux or even certain medications.

Whatever the cause, infants, children and adults with speech, hearing, breathing or swallowing problems can count on University Hospitals Ear, Nose & Throat Institute’s Voice & Swallowing Center for expert care. Led by a board-certified otolaryngologist and pediatric otolaryngologist, the center takes a multidisciplinary team approach to patient care and education. Using special pediatric-sized equipment and advanced technologies, the staff works with pediatric experts in gastroenterology, pulmonary medicine, neurology, radiology, nutrition, surgery and other pediatric specialties, as needed.

“We aim to coordinate care with other specialists during one patient visit,” says Nicole Maronian, MD, Director of the center. “This makes it more convenient for patients and families, while offering a more personalized care delivery experience.”

During their first visit, patients generally undergo an evaluation of the oral cavity and pharynx, as well as a test called a video laryngoscopy.

“Kids love the video aspect of it,” says Dr. Maronian. “It helps them tolerate the process.”

Center experts treat more than just voice problems. Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing, can affect children with cleft palate and premature infants, among others. The center also cares for children with phonotrauma, a swelling of the throat caused by screaming, talking at too high of a pitch or other vocal cord misuse. “Children often try to relieve the swelling sensation through frequent throat clearing or coughing,” Dr. Maronian says. “This only worsens the problem.”

Comprehensive treatment plans may include speech therapy techniques, preventive education or surgical intervention.

“We work with families to help them understand their child’s condition and how to maximize the results of treatment,” Dr. Maronian says.

Hear your child’s voice again

If your child is having voice or swallowing problems, count on us. Call 216-983-3455 to learn more. For appointments, call 216-UH4-KIDS or request one online.

maronian-nicoleNicole Maronian, MD
Otolaryngologist and Director, UH Voice and Swallowing Center
Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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