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While many people don’t realize it’s possible to develop voice or swallowing problems, CEENTA’s Voice & Swallowing Specialists, like Lori Ellen Sutton, MA, CCC-SLP, know just how much they can impact a person’s life.
What does a Voice & Swallowing Specialist do?
Ms. Sutton sees a variety of patients with voice or swallowing disorders.They can range from an average voice user to professionals such as teachers, ministers, and singers. She also sees people who have been or are being treated for head and neck cancer.
“For me, as a singer, working in the field of voice disorders is a nice marriage between art and science,” Ms. Sutton said. “And with swallowing disorders, it is just amazing to help someone return to eating after devastating cancer treatments.”
While speech-language pathologists typically treat a wide range of communication disorders in both pediatric and adult populations, CEENTA’s Voice & Swallowing Center specializes in the treatment of conditions such as hoarseness, some issues with shortness of breath, and chronic coughing. They also offer counseling and care for patients who undergo total laryngectomy.
Some of these issues can be cancer-related. They can also be related to a stroke, neurologic disorders like Parkinson’s disease, or other issues.
“I just provided counseling to a woman who was about to get a laryngectomy, so she knows what to expect and knows she doesn’t have to deal with it alone,” Ms. Sutton said.
A Voice & Swallowing career at CEENTA
One of the unique things about working in CEENTA’s Voice & Swallowing Center is the specialists work directly with their referring ENT doctors every day.
“Most clinics like this are hospital- or university-based,” Ms. Sutton said. “Being in the same practice, and sometimes the same building, as our referring physicians allows for much more collaborative patient care. Communication is easier and better.”
This multidisciplinary clinic setting often allows CEENTA’s Voice & Swallowing Specialists the opportunity to see patients before they undergo procedures or treatments that could negatively impact their voice or swallowing abilities.For instance, patients with head and neck cancer typically meet with a specialist prior to starting radiation treatments. They will learn how these treatments can impact their swallowing, and how to minimize the negative impacts of these life-saving treatments.
“We can often head these issues off at the pass,” Ms. Sutton said. “It’s better if patients can be proactive and start dealing with these issues early.”
The Center is growing
The Voice & Swallowing Center continues to expand its services, too. The SLPs now participate in monthly Botox injection clinics for spasmodic dysphonia. Soon the department will be offering Modified Barium Swallow studies in the SouthPark office, instead of having to refer patients out to local imaging centers for these studies.
“With the addition of the MBS studies, the CEENTA Voice & Swallowing Center will now offer every service that is expected of a premier voice and swallowing practice,” Ms. Sutton said.
Visit our Careers page for a complete list of our open positions or to join CEENTA’s Talent Community.
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