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J Voice. 2014 Mar;28(2):216-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2013.09.003. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation of the cricothyroid muscle in patients with suspected superior laryngeal nerve weakness.

Author information

1
Lakeshore Professional Voice Center, Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center, St. Clair Shores, Michigan; School of Communication Sciences, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.
2
Lakeshore Professional Voice Center, Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center, St. Clair Shores, Michigan; Department of Otolaryngology-HNS, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
3
Lakeshore Communication Disorders Center, Inc, St. Clair Shores, Michigan.
4
Servicio de Otorrinolaringología del Hospital J. M. Ramos Mejía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
5
Lakeshore Professional Voice Center, Lakeshore Ear, Nose and Throat Center, St. Clair Shores, Michigan; Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. Electronic address: jmenaldi@wayne.edu.

Abstract

In this retrospective case study, we report the apparent clinical effectiveness of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in combination with voice therapy (VT) for rehabilitating dysphonia secondary to suspected superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) weakness in two female patients. Both patients failed or plateaued with traditional VT but had significant improvement with the addition of NMES of the cricothyroid muscle and SLN using a VitalStim unit. Stimulation was provided simultaneously with voice exercises based on musical phonatory tasks. Both acoustic analysis and endoscopic evaluation demonstrated important improvements after treatment. In the first patient, the major change was obtained within the primo passaggio region; specifically, a decrease in voice breaks was demonstrated. In the second patient, an improvement in voice quality (less breathiness) and vocal range were the most important findings. Additionally, each patient reported a significant improvement in their voice complaints. Neuromuscular laryngeal electrical stimulation in combination with vocal exercises might be a useful tool to improve voice quality in patients with SLN injury.

KEYWORDS:

Cricothyroid muscle; Neuromuscular electrical stimulation; Superior laryngeal nerve; Surface electrical stimulation; Vocal folds paresis; Voice therapy

PMID:
24315659
DOI:
10.1016/j.jvoice.2013.09.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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