In an effort to better serve the Lawrence community, a local physician and speech-language pathologists from Kansas University are working together at a voice clinic on campus.
The voice clinic, part of the Schiefelbusch Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at KU, opened at the beginning of the spring semester, said Linda Larrivee, a speech-language pathologist who's serving as supervisor of the voice clinic.
Dr. Stephen Segebrecht, an otolaryngologist, comes to the clinic on the last Monday of every month and gives patients a medical examination. After he makes a diagnosis, graduate student clinicians from the Schiefelbusch center begin voice therapy, Larrivee said.
"I think it's a huge benefit to the community because of this joint effort," Larrivee said in her office Wednesday.
PREVIOUSLY, speech-language pathologists from KU treated patients at Segebrecht's office. When the Schiefelbusch clinic expanded in the fall, the voice clinic moved to KU, where there is more room for Segebrecht and the clinicians to work together.
Segebrecht said Thursday that the clinic benefits both patients and the student clinicians. He said response to the clinic has been encouraging.
"It's an exciting thing," Segebrecht said. "I think the clinic is going to have a tremendous impact on education. It's a real teaching tool. This affords the students the opportunity to see the medical aspect of voice problems."
Segebrecht said many people ignore voice disorders. For example, he said people who rely on their voices for their profession broadcasters and singers, for example often don't come to grips with the problem until their career is threatened.
"VOCAL hygiene is not emphasized enough," Segebrecht said. "It's of real concern to patients who rely on their voice for their profession."
Warning signs of a voice disorder include hoarseness, uncontrolled pitch, pitch breaks, breathiness, tremors when speaking, excessive throat clearing and aphonia, loss of voice.
"The aim of voice therapy is to help the patient achieve a normal speaking voice," Larrivee explained. "We look at what the patient might have been doing wrong."