Having a voice or swallowing disorder can feel overwhelming, confusing, and isolating.
Since our voices are so integral to our sense of who we are, it’s not uncommon for sufferers to feel a loss of identity and a sense of powerlessness. Similarly, the ability to eat is essential to our health and is a part of every social event.
Obert Voice Studios serves a vital role by treating the client holistically in collaboration with their medical team.
Holistic voice and swallowing therapy begins with education about the disorder, an honest description of the prognosis, and a time frame for recovery.
Treatment approaches include identifying contributing factors, customizing a recovery plan, and making appropriate referrals.
Kerrie Obert's understanding of the nuances of the medical system, coupled with years of experience in treating laryngeal disorders, makes her uniquely qualified to assist clients on their wellness journeys. Patients who receive speech therapy services will have unparalleled attention and support.
“Self-care is how you take your power back.”
- Lalah Delia
Speech Therapy Services
OVS provides speech therapy services to those diagnosed with a voice or swallowing disorder. Patients must have a referral for speech therapy from an otolaryngologist before initiation of services and submit a copy of the physician’s report as well as a copy of the endoscopic exam. OVS Speech Therapy Services does not accept insurance and operates as a private-pay clinic. However, we can provide documentation for patients who would like to seek insurance reimbursement on their own.
When to see the doctor
If you have had any of the symptoms listed below for more than two weeks, you should be evaluated by an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (otolaryngologist), preferably one specialized in voice (laryngologist).
- a harsh or scratchy voice
- shooting pain from the throat to the ear
- feeling like you have a lump in your throat
- neck pain, especially under the chin or near the larynx (protrusion on the front of the neck)
- less ability to change your pitch
- vocal fatigue after voice use
- change in the quality of your singing voice or pitch change
- frequent coughing or choking during meals or immediately after meals
- feeling foods sticking in your throat
- regurgitating foods or liquids
- feeling that swallowing is difficult or painful
- feeling that your swallowing is not coordinated
*If you feel food is getting stuck but it is occurring down in your chest, you will need to see a gastroenterologist rather than an otolaryngologist. Your family physician can make a referral for this.
What to expect at the doctor
Your doctor will need to look at your throat and vocal folds using an oral or nasal endoscope. Both procedures are relatively quick and easy with minimal discomfort. Neither exam requires any special preparation or sedation. You will be able to drive yourself to and from the appointment. The physician will likely record the exam to review with you when it's finished. You may want to take your phone so you can create a video of the exam while it is being played back. Your physician may be able to provide a copy of your exam but may charge a service fee.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. You may want to write down any questions you have before the appointment so you don't forget them. You will need to sign a release while you are there in the clinic for them to communicate with Obert Voice Studios. You may need to provide them with OVS' phone number (614) 738.0209 or physical address (1727 Sioux Court, Grove City Ohio 43123). If you decide to have speech therapy services with Obert Voice Studios, we do require an order from your physician. Please have them give you the order at the time of your appointment. You can upload a copy of the order to our patient portal when you book your appointment.
The oral endoscope is conducted using a long metal rod that is several inches in length and slightly wider than your pinky finger. Although the oral scope looks quite long, it is only inserted a couple of inches into the mouth and can be pulled out if you need a break. The oral endoscope exam is no worse than having your back teeth cleaned and doesn't last nearly as long! The oral exam is not painful at all but can induce a slight gag response in some people. Your doctor may choose to use some numbing spray to reduce the gag reflex.
The nasal scope is conducted using a tiny flexible scope that is about as wide as an RCA cord. The flexible scope is inserted into your nostril and then passed to the upper throat. This exam is easier when your nasal passages are open. Your doctor may choose to use some nasal spray such as Afrin to open the nasal passages. Numbing spray is also occasionally used to improve the ease and comfort of the exam. The doctor will ask you to perform some speech and singing tasks during the exam. Singers often enjoy being able to see their own voice in action.
What do the results mean?
Now that you have a diagnosis, you may be wondering what it means in terms of a treatment plan, limitations that you may have as a result of the diagnosis, and prognosis for recovery. Rest assured, most voice and swallowing problems get better with treatment and time. When you begin your recovery with OVS, you will be given an estimate of how long the recovery will take and a prognosis, so you have realistic expectations. OVS will let you know if it would be helpful for you to reduce or stop singing or to modify your voice use in any way during the recovery phase. Most patients are able to continue working with some minimal modifications to their voice use.