Research Article|Articles in Press

Clinical Experiences of Speech-Language Pathologists in the Rehabilitation of Unilateral Vocal Fold Paralysis



      Unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) is a neurological voice disorder that is often first treated by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). In literature, little consensus is found regarding voice therapy onset, duration, frequency, and content. The aim of the current study is to investigate the clinical practice of SLPs for treatment of UVFP regarding diagnostics and treatment characteristics. Additionally, the study examined the personal experiences of SLPs regarding UVFP care.


      An online survey was completed by 37 respondents, all SLPs with experience in treating UVFP. Demographic characteristics, experiences with voice assessments and treatment modalities were examined. Lastly, experiences and opinions of SLPs on evidence-based practice and their own clinical practice were surveyed.


      Almost all respondents used a multidimensional voice assessment with findings from laryngovideostroboscopy to assess UVFP. Laryngeal electromyography is not yet integrated in regular clinical practices. The most commonly used vocal techniques were resonant voice exercises, laryngeal manipulation, semioccluded vocal tract exercises (SOVTEs), vocal hygiene, and Vocal Function Exercises, with SOVTEs most often considered effective. A total of 75% of the respondents feel confident treating UVFP, and 87.6% believe it is important to stay updated on evidence-based practice. Variation in therapy timing and dosage was observed, and 48.4% of SLPs usually started early voice therapy within 4 weeks after UVFP onset.


      Flemish SLPs generally feel confident treating UVFP patients and show interest in improving evidence-based practice. Initiatives to train clinicians further in UVFP care and encouraging SLPs to provide practice-based evidence will enhance the knowledge base for evidence-based practice in UFVP.

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