A vocologist is an individual who by a specific course of study is able to habilitate (develop or make capable) the voice. In the medical realm, this term is sometimes applied to speech pathologists with some sort of voice performance training, or else to singing teachers or voice coaches who have taken courses in anatomy, voice disorders, speech pathology, and so forth, leading to a vocology certificate, but who do not necessarily have a speech-language pathology degree.
An individual who has a graduate degree (master’s or doctorate) in speech-language pathology. After successful completion of the CFY (clinical fellowship year), a speech pathologist may work behaviorally with a wide variety of conditions that affect breathing, voice, and swallowing. Some speech pathologists are generalists, potentially working within the same day with: a child whose speech is not clear; a person who is trying to recover clear speech after a stroke; a singer with vocal nodules; and an elderly person who is aspirating when she swallows. A speech pathologist’s activities may be divided between evaluation (including by use of the videofluoroscopic swallowing study or videostroboscopy to assess the voice) and therapy or treatment – teaching and coaching the patient in ways that improve their voice, breathing, and swallowing. At our practice, our speech pathologist is singing voice qualified, working nearly exclusively with voice and breathing disorders. Adjunct speech pathologists from Good Samaritan Hospital are typically involved with our patients who have swallowing disorders.
Singing voice qualified, when used to refer to a speech pathologist or physician, means that the clinician has personal knowledge of the expected phenomenology and capabilities of the voice, including those only encountered in the singing voice. Typically, this kind of qualification comes from personal voice training and singing experience on the part of the clinician.
Short form for otorhinolaryngologist, an otolaryngologist is the official name of an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician.
A Laryngologist, is a sub-specialized otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat physician), who focuses on disorders of the throat, including those involving the functions of voice, swallowing, and airway. As one might expect, laryngologists come in varying types. Some do not do cancer work that involves open operations on the larynx, nor do they do neck dissections. Some do not have much involvement with swallowing. Our laryngologists practice what we informally term full-service laryngology. This means that our practice encompasses, as a large part on one end of the spectrum, microsurgery on the vocal folds, up to and including, on the other end of the spectrum, the big operations of larynx cancer and larynx and tracheal reconstruction.