Swallowing Studies and Speech Therapy
University of Maryland Shore Regional Outpatient Rehabilitation provides treatment for various speech disorders and oral pain. Our specialists perform clinical oral and swallowing evaluations to determine the next step in speech and swallowing therapy.
Speech therapy is also included in the recovery of oral and throat cancer treatment, as well as other parts of the head and neck. In addition, patients may need physical therapy with professionals trained in cancer rehabilitation for the best level of care.
The first step is a clinical evaluation, which includes a careful review of the patient’s medical history, an exam of the muscles and structures of the mouth and throat, and speech quality and swallowing function assessments. A clinician may give you food and liquid to identify symptoms of swallowing difficulties while eating and drinking. Based on the results of the exam, our specialists will develop a treatment plan and goals.
Types of Speech and Oral Disorders
Dysphagia is the medical term for having difficulty swallowing. Untreated dysphagia can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which is inflammation of the lungs and airways due to breathing in foreign material such as food.
A dysphagia study takes real-time moving images of the mouth and throat. The therapist and radiologist will use these images to develop therapy and treatment for you and to measure your progress. Speech-language pathologists will work with you to regain muscle strength for everyday activities, such as eating, drinking and speaking.
Also referred to as functional voice difficulty, dysphonia is a vocal disorder with no obvious cause. Muscle spasms in the voice box is the most common symptom. You may also experience a breathy voice or random soundless periods while speaking.
Also referred to as lockjaw, trismus is any reduced movement of the jaw joint caused by inflammation and muscle contortion. Trismus can be painful and cause discomfort while eating and speaking, but is easily treated.
Common causes include:
- Head, neck or jaw related surgery
- Radiation from cancer treatment
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
UM Shore Regional Health offers a digital swallowing station which streamlines care for patients who can receive their swallowing study and therapy in the same location.
For more information, please call 410-822-1000, ext. 8471 for Cambridge; ext. 7281 for Denton; ext. 7170 for Easton; or ext. 7638 for Queenstown; or call 410-822-3080 to make an appointment at any location.