The Voice Clinic in the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic provides diagnostic and treatment services for individuals of all ages with voice problems. All diagnostic and therapy sessions are conducted by graduate-level student-clinicians, under the direct supervision of licensed and certified faculty members of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Diagnostics

Diagnostic services are provided through the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic for individuals of all ages. Referrals are accepted from otolaryngologists, referring speech-language pathologists, and individuals. An evaluation by an otolaryngologist (ENT) is typically required for insurance to cover services for voice disorders. If your voice has not been evaluated by an ENT recently and you have concerns for a voice disorder, we recommend getting a referral to an ENT from your primary care provider as early as possible. The ENT exam can be completed prior to the voice diagnostic evaluation at our clinic.

The voice evaluation includes: (1) an initial interview designed to address the specific presenting problem(s); (2) clinical measurement of the voice using objective, acoustic and perceptual techniques; (3) materials and information for optimizing vocal health; and (4) a period of trial voice therapy to determine prognosis and goals for therapy. Clinical measurement of a singer's voice may also include the Voice Range Profile.

Therapy

Voice therapy services are provided through the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic for individuals of all ages. Referrals are accepted from otolaryngologists, referring speech-language pathologists, primary care providers, and individuals. Treatment sessions are individualized, and are usually scheduled weekly or bi-weekly.  Services are provided for individuals with a variety of voice disorders, such as vocal fold nodules, muscle tension dysphonia, vocal fold paralysis, tremor, presbyphonia, chronic cough, vocal fold dysfunction (paradoxical vocal fold motion), puberphonia, spasmodic dysphonia, and other voice and upper airway disorders.

We also offer SPEAK OUT!® and LSVT LOUD® for people with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions. Our clinicians have experience with professional voice users, including singers and performers, and student clinicians are supervised by a singing voice rehabilitation specialist SLP. Services are available in person at the clinic and via telehealth if you are in Iowa or North Dakota.

Transgender voice

Services include a diagnostic evaluation and individual therapy sessions to address gender affirming voice and communication skills. Gender affirming training addresses aspects of communication including pitch, intonation, articulation, resonance, language, nonverbal communication, and more. The training can be tailored to your preferences for more feminine attributes, more masculine attributes or a non-binary communication style. These services are generally not covered by insurance, and rates are by the session or by the semester if not covered by insurance. If you are concerned about a voice disorder, please see your primary care physician, endocrinologist, or an otolaryngologist (ENT) for a referral for speech services.

Gender Affirming Voice Group: Three or more clients work with graduate student-clinicians once a week in a group setting for gender affirming voice training. Sessions include large group and small group activities which address aspects of communication including pitch, intonation, articulation, resonance, language, nonverbal communication and more. The group is open to any transmen, transwomen, and non-binary individuals wanting to learn more about vocal health and gender communication styles. The group is not covered by insurance and is a flat fee by semester. To be added to the group waitlist, contact the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic, at 319-335-8736 and indicate you are interested in the gender affirming group.

Voice Professionals

The Voice Clinic specializes in providing services for voice professionals who seek to improve their voice use. These professionals, who depend on their voices for their livelihood, include but are not limited to: singers, actors, broadcasters, teachers, courtroom lawyers, clergy and telemarketers. The voice habilitation services provided to these individuals are designed to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the voice for speaking and singing. These services are different than rehabilitative services for a voice disorder and, instead, focus on improving a healthy voice. Insurance does not generally cover services for healthy voices, and sessions rates are by session or by the semester. If you are concerned about a voice disorder, please see your primary care physician or an otolaryngologist (ENT) for a referral for speech services.

In June 2022, Louise Pinkerton presented Just Breathe: Breathing for Rehabilitation and Performance at the Voice Foundation's Annual Symposium Workshop; the handout is available as a pdf file.

LSVT LOUD® for Parkinson's Disease and other Neurological Disorders

LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment)  LOUD is a program is designed to improve functional communication in daily living by increasing vocal loudness. LSVT consists of 4 sessions per week for 4 weeks (16 sessions in a month). Each session lasts 60 minutes. The treatment involves intensive daily training sessions along with family-assisted practice sessions at home and emphasizes high vocal effort. The individual is encouraged to “THINK LOUD.” Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of this program for individuals with Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, MS, and Huntington's disease. It is also effective for children with cerebral palsy and autism. Diagnostic and therapy services are provided by graduate student-clinicians under the supervision of Louise Pinkerton, who has adult and pediatric LSVT LOUD certification. Follow-up sessions are scheduled as needed.

What to do if you are interested in LSVT? Obtain a referral from your physician for a speech evaluation and speech therapy 4 times/week x 4 weeks. You may also need a referral to an otolaryngologist (ENT) for an endoscopic voice evaluation to rule out other voice problems such as vocal fold nodules. For more information about LSVT LOUD contact Louise Pinkerton at louise-pinkerton@uiowa.edu or view the LSVT Global website. To schedule a speech evaluation, contact the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic, at 319-335-8736 or have your physician fax a referral to 319-335-8851.

Additional Resources
For additional information about Parkinson Disease, visit these sites:

American Parkinson Disease Association, Inc.

Cedar Rapids Metro Parkinson's Association

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

National Parkinson Foundation

Clinical Coordinator

Louise Pinkerton, M.M., M.A., CCC-SLP
Clinical Assistant Professor