Boston Medical Center's Voice and Swallowing department houses a team of experts, including voice therapists, laryngologists, and speech-language pathologists and offers a wide array of diagnostic and treatment options for people with vocal or swallowing disorders.

"Dr. Grillone is one of the kindest most competent physicians I've ever seen. Highly professional and thoughtful in addition to solving a problem I've had for a while."

~ John A.

Voice problems such as the voice being tired or strained after prolonged usage can affect both professional and personal life. Voice problems often originate in the lungs, throat, larynx, and mouth and can be caused by a variety of conditions, including acute laryngitis; acid reflux; or polyps, cysts, or nodules on the vocal folds. Thankfully, the vast majority of voice problems are caused by non-life-threatening disorders and are easily treatable.

To schedule a consult with one of BMC’s voice and swallowing experts, call us at 617.638.8124.

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Voice and Swallowing (Throat Problems)

Specialty Clinics

Otolaryngology – Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery

The department evaluates approximately 13,000 patients per year in the otolaryngology outpatient clinics and performs nearly 1,700 hospital-based surgical procedures annually. The Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery provides care for patients with problems involving the ears, sinuses, oral cavity, nose, throat, neck (ENT) including sinus conditions, allergy, sleep disorders, and snoring.

Conditions We Treat

Treatments & Services

Botox

Botulinum toxin, or botox, injections may ease symptoms in some patients with motility disorders.

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Laser therapy

This is a medical treatment that uses focused light. Surgeons can focus on a small area and damage less of the surrounding tissue. Patients who have laser therapy may experience less pain, swelling, and scarring than with traditional surgery.

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Cidofovir injections

Cidofovir is an injectable antiviral medication used to treat laryngeal papilloma.

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Other Voice and Swallowing (Throat Problems) Treatments

A number of other therapies are available for voice and swallowing problems.

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Diagnostics and Tests

The Center offers diagnostic options for papillomas and early stage larynx cancer, and for swallowing and voice problems due to Parkinson's disease, stroke and other neurological disorders.

This state-of-the-art voice center provides the full scope of diagnostic testing including:

  • Acoustic Analysis
  • A variety of in-office laryngeal procedures

Videolaryngostroboscopy

Video laryngoscopy is a form of indirect laryngoscopy in which the clinician does not directly view the larynx. Instead, visualization of the larynx is performed with a fiberoptic or digital laryngoscope inserted through the nose or mouth.

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Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)

FEES is a procedure that allows physicians to assess areas surrounding the voice box and opening of the esophagus, through the use of a small flexible telescope.

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Transnasal Esophagoscopy (TNE)

TNE uses a camera that is passed through the nose as a way to examine the esophagus in patients at risk for esophageal cancer and other disorders. TNE doesn’t require sedation, unlike other techniques widely used to look into the esophagus. 

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Pharyngeal Manometry

This test evaluates your swallowing. Pharyngeal and upper sphincter manometry can detect the sphincter’s (muscle that maintains constriction of a natural body passage) failure to relax and assess the coordination between the contraction of the pharynx and the relaxation of the upper esophageal sphincter.

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Barium Swallow

A barium swallow (also called a contrast esophagram), is a series of x-rays of your esophagus. For the test, you will drink a barium-containing liquid, which coats the inside of the esophagus and makes its shape and contours appear on x-rays.

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Esophagram

An esophagram, or contrast esophagram (also called a barium swallow), is a series of x-rays of your esophagus. For an esophagram, you will be asked to drink a barium sulfate liquid while x-rays are taken of the swallowing process.

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Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS)

This test is used to view your swallowing function. You will be asked to swallow a variety of barium-coated substances, such as liquid, applesauce, and a cracker.

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Pharyngeal pH Reflux Testing

Pharyngeal pH monitoring is a test used to evaluate for effects from gastroesophageal reflux disease that could be affecting the throat and result in swallowing, breathing, or voicing problems.

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Voice Screenings

Performers generally look upon vocal problems with dread. There are few things worse than having to walk in front of an audience with the fear that your voice may not function properly. A routine examination by a voice care team can often make the difference between a successful performance and a canceled one.

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Our Team

Otolaryngologists

Gregory A Grillone, MD

Professor and Chair of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Special Interests

Benign and Malignant Tumors of the Head and Neck, Robotic Surgery and Minimally Invasive Surgery for Head and Neck Tumors, Laryngeal, Voice and Swallowing Disorders, Surgical Treatment of Sleep Apnea, Diseases of the Trachea and Esophagus, Zenker's Diverticulum

Gregory Grillone MD Headshot Otolaryngology

Jacob P Noordzij, MD

Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs for Otolaryngology
Professor of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine

Special Interests

Hoarseness, Parathyroid, Thyroid and Voice Problems, Zenker's Diverticulum

Otolaryngology doctor headshot

Lauren F Tracy, MD

Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Medicine

Special Interests

Hoarseness and voice disorders, Professional voice, Dysplasia and vocal cord cancer, Office-based laser laryngeal surgery, Airway and swallowing disorders, Diseases of the trachea and esophagus, Zenker's Diverticulum

Speech Language Pathologists

Jessica M Pisegna, PhD, MS-CCC-SLP, MEd

Director of Speech Language Pathology

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Dysphonia (voice problems), Cognitive Deficits and Aphasia (language problems), Reflux-related disorders

Daniel P Buckley, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Dysphonia (voice disorders), professional voice, globus syndrome, muscle tension dysphagia

Hadas Golan, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Professional voice, dysfunctional breathing, muscle tension dysphonia, irritable larynx and chronic cough

Amy Gottlieb, MS-CF-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Dysphagia, dysphonia, and neurogenic disorders of language and cognition

Edel M McNally, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Swallowing assessment, FEES, MBS, dysphagia therapy, aphasia, cognitive-communication deficits

Meredith B O'Dea, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Dysphonia (voice problems), Reflux-related disorders, Alaryngeal Rehabilitation included Tracheoesophageal (TEP) Voice Restoration/Management

Kerry Pearl, MS, CCC-SLP

Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Feeding Difficulty, Selective Eating, Pediatric Dysphagia

Placeholder image for doctor

Kailey Vitale, MA, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Alaryngeal rehabilitation including tracheoesophageal (TEP) voice restoration/management, Evaluation and treatment of swallowing problems after head and neck cancer

Kim Boscodoss, MS, CCC-SLP

Michelle Ganann, CCC-SLP

Anna Lifvergren, CCC-SLP

Juliet Ochura, MS, CCC-SLP, CLC

Jennifer Perez, MS, CCC-SLP, CLC

Krystal Radnor CCC-SLP-CFY Clinical Fellow

Keri Miloro, CCC-SLP

Casey Scott, MS, CCC-SLP-CFY Clinical Fellow

Samantha Ashinoff, MS, CCC-SLP

Research Overview

Vocal Cord Dysfunction Study - Looking for Participants

Do you experience any of the following?

  • Asthma
  • Shortness of breath due to exercise or stress
  • Paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM)
  • Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)

If so, and you're over 12 years old, you are a good candidate for our breathing retraining study. BMC and the University of Haifa are conducting a joint study on a breathing retraining program for paradoxical vocal fold motion - PVFM (also known as vocal cord dysfunction: VCD).

PVFM can look a lot like an asthma attack, including shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. However, PVFM will not respond to asthma medication. Also, unlike asthma, a person will have more difficulty inhaling than exhaling. This is a common disorder among athletes; physical exertion can be a trigger.

Location

800 Harrison Avenue, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02118

Contact Information for the study

Hadas Golan, MS/CCC-SLP
Call: 617.414.1768
Email: [email protected]
Location: 830 Harrison Avenue, Suite 1425

STEPP Lab 

The STEPP LAB for Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Engineering is affiliated with the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery through principal investigator, Dr. Cara Stepp. They are a multidisciplinary group of researchers with the shared goal of improving the assessment and treatment of sensorimotor disorders of voice and speech, applying techniques from electrical engineering, computer science, rehabilitation engineering, neuroscience, laryngology, speech science, and communication disorders. Ongoing studies in the lab are in collaboration with clinician-investigators with primary appointments in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.