“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.”  Neil Gaiman 

The voice is integral to who we are, how we see ourselves, and how others see us. Voice therapy can help rehabilitate the speaking and singing voice following a vocal fold injury or address vocal changes from a neurological condition like Parkinson’s Disease. In gender affirming voice care, clients and clinicians collaborate to explore the voice and develop the tools to find a voice that is authentic to the client. Professional voice training teaches people how to make the most of their voices and how to prevent injury.  

Services for Clients. Opportunities for Students.

Individual and group voice services are provided by graduate student clinicians in our MA-SLP program during their clinical voice team rotation. We offer both in-person and telehealth sessions. The student clinicians are supervised by Louise Pinkerton, a licensed and certified SLP, who specializes in voice and upper airway disorders across the lifespan. Student clinical experiences will be drawn from the services described below   

Voice and Upper Airway Disorders 

At the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic, we provide voice and upper airway treatment across this lifespan. Common diagnoses treated include vocal fold nodules, muscle tension dysphonia, presbyphonia, and chronic cough. We also work with clients with vocal fold paralysis, tremor, spasmodic dysphonia, puberphonia, and vocal fold dysfunction (paradoxical vocal fold motion). Many referrals come from the Voice and Swallowing Clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and we may also do evaluations in our clinic. We have a Visi-Pitch system for voice analysis and a stroboscopy tower in our clinic. Hands-on-training in laryngoscopy is available in coursework

Professional Voice Rehabilitation: Professional voice users are people who depend on their voices for their livelihood, such as singers, actors, broadcasters, teachers, courtroom lawyers, clergy and telemarketers. The goal of therapy is to return them to a professional level and prevent future injury. Graduate student-clinicians may have an opportunity to serve these elite clients in collaboration with Louise Pinkerton who has a unique background in speech pathology, vocology, and vocal performance. 

Treatment for Hypophonia and Parkinson's Disease:
We offer SPEAK OUT!® for adults with Parkinson’s Disease and LSVT LOUD® for adults with Parkinson’s Disease and adults and children with other neurological conditions. These intensive, research-based therapies target increasing vocal effort to increase the quality, loudness, and intelligibility of the speaker. 

For more information about voice and upper airway disorders, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website.

Read our webpage, Voice Treatment for Neurologic Diagnoses, for more information.

Gender Affirming Voice
and Communication

Gender affirming voice and communication training at the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic introduces clients to ways to modify their communication to be more feminine, more masculine, or for a non-binary style. Voice training addresses different areas of communication including pitch, intonation, articulation, resonance, language, nonverbal communication, and more. These services are rarely covered by insurance. Graduate student-clinicians conduct evaluations, weekly or bi-weekly individual services, and a gender affirming group, as well as workshops that are open to the public.

Voice at the UIHC LGBTQ Clinic at Iowa River Landing: At this fast-paced outpatient clinic in Coralville, physician internists, a pharmacist, a nurse practitioner, nurses, a psychologist and an SLP collaborate to provide a variety of services for transgender individuals. Graduate student-clinicians assist with voice evaluations and provide individual services for voice and communication at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. There may be opportunities to observe providers in other disciplines. Students must be available on Tuesday evening throughout the semester on voice team.

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 different aspects of vocal health and voice and communication. The group is open to any transmen, transwomen, and non-binary individuals wanting to learn more about vocal health and gender communication styles.

Gender Affirming Voice and Communication Workshops: The voice team conducts community workshops on gender affirming voice to introduce people to the voice, vocal health, and ways to modify voice and communication gender markers. It’s an opportunity for graduate students to provide outreach to our community. For information about scheduling a workshop, contact Louise Pinkerton at louise-pinkerton@uiowa.edu.

Read our flyer about Gender Affirming Voice Training offered by our Clinic.

For more information, visit the ASHA gender affirming voice and communication webpage.


Professional Voice Training 

Individual voice habilitation services are available on a limited basis to educate healthy voice users about voice use and to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of their voice for speaking and singing. These services are different than rehabilitative services for disorders because they address improving the voice or maintaining vocal health instead of the guiding the recovery process.  

Educator Workshops: In the Fall 2023, we are starting a new program in collaboration with the Regents Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure. RAPIL is a collaboration between the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa to prepare people with real world experience to become teachers in Iowa. Our new vocal health for educators program will include workshops with RAPIL students during their first semester of study and later during their student teaching experience. For information about scheduling an educator workshop, contact Louise Pinkerton atlouise-pinkerton@uiowa.edu. 

For more information about keeping your voice healthy, visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) webpage.

Independent Study

Louise Pinkerton guides both graduate and undergraduate students in independent studies or special projects. Students have presented posters and talks for regional organizations, completed a group independent study on Professional Voice Rehabilitation, and joined an undergraduate discussion group

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