Concept of a Voice Care Team
A voice care team is an interdisciplinary team of voice professionals typically under the direction of a specialist in ear, nose, and throat medicine, an otolaryngologist or a laryngologist.
- The physician evaluates the voice disorders, determines the cause or causes (diagnosis), and provides medical treatment for voice disorders.
- The speech-language pathologist (or phoniatrist in countries without speech-language pathologists) provides voice therapy and attends to problems that affect the speaking voice.
- Other team members may be from any one or more of the following professions: singing voice specialist, acting voice specialist, nurse and/or physician assistant, and consultant physician and non-physician specialists.
Voice care has evolved into a sophisticated medical science. Patients with voice disorders are served best by an interdisciplinary team consisting of physicians and non-physicians.
- The physician may be a specialist who practices all aspects of ear, nose, and throat medicine (otolaryngologist), or an otolaryngologist who further subspecializes in voice disorders (laryngologist).
- The physician collaborates with non-physician voice professionals such as: speech-language pathologist, singing voice specialist, and/or acting voice specialist.
- As a medical care team, other key professionals of the voice team are consultants from different medical and non-medical specialties: neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, as well as the voice team nurse and/or physician assistant and/or medical assistant.
Under the best of circumstances, all members of the voice team have received special training in the care of the voice in addition to general aspects of their disciplines respectively.
Although even the best training does not guarantee clinical excellence, it does improve the probability that a practitioner will provide superior, modern voice care.
Voice Care Not Just For Performing Artists
Although the highest-visibility patients for the voice care team are performing artists, who have strong professional demands on their voice, a voice care team provides care to anyone with voice problems – all professions, all ages.
Voice Health as a Basic Component of Well-Being
Increasingly, voice problems are recognized as critical clues to uncovering not just medical health problems, but also mental and emotional health problems.
The recognition of the importance of voice health for the total well-being increases the challenge to the voice care team and highlights the importance of the team concept of multidisciplinary professionals.