There’s a New Sheriff in Town: Introducing Visi-Pitch IV

Something really powerful has arrived in the Voice Lab at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat. We’ve expanded our space to include the new, state-of-the-art Visi-Pitch IV—a speech therapy tool that collects, graphs, and summarizes data so that our in-house speech language pathologists can better treat you and your voice problems.

What Exactly Is Visi-Pitch IV?

The Visi-Pitch technology is known for its highly-effective visual displays that present information such as vocal pitch, amplitude, and other speech and voice-related measurements graphically and auditorially.

The visual element means that we can measure and analyze your voice and speech parameters and disabilities for future comparison and analysis following treatment at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat. Tracking your clinical progress is easier, faster, and now, more accurate.

An important part of the Visi-Pitch that differentiates the new model from previous releases and competitors is the ability to extract objective quantitative values from vocal functions.

Looking for some plain English? The tool helps us profile your voice (for example, before and after surgery), compare it to other data, and continually track your improvement in the weeks and months during or following recovery.

The software that is used to extract these objective measurements is often praised in professional medical journals for its robustness and accuracy, superior interpretation of data, and sophistication.

Because the device allows Dr. DePasquale to compare and correlate both the visual and auditory data-mining and playback features that come with the Visi-Pitch IV, your therapy goals will become drastically easier to reach.

More Product Highlights and Features

Visi-Pitch comes with a built-in Voice Games feature that uses catchy and engaging animation to capture the attention of children who undergo speech therapy or recovery following major surgery.

The software is a fantastic tool for motivating and rewarding our children for improvements made during our sessions together, which leads to accelerated results in almost all cases.

Another important element is the high-fidelity audio playback, which enables you and the speech pathologist and Dr. DePasquale at SAENT to listen back on the work we’ve done together, helping you as patient better understand the value of the treatment.

You’ll immediately recognize obvious improvements and progress with the playback, which can help to instill a greater sense of confidence and accomplishment in your treatment processes.

A Real-Time Spectrogram is also included with the Visi-Pitch, which is a tool that gives us a three-dimensional display (e.g., a spectrogram) of speech signals.

It’s yet another way that our clinicians can analyze and assess your vocal profile. Because vocal profiles vary tremendously from patient to patient in terms of what treatment is needed, when, and how, these highly-specialized tools allow us to work much more efficiently.

The Real-Time spectrogram can also be used for articulation training and identifying causes and treatments for dysphonic voices (a voice impairment that feel or sounds breathy, hoarse, or rough).

Should You Consider Trying Visi-Pitch?

 The Visi-Pitch tool is designed for use on the following disorders and impairments, all of which we offers treatment and therapy for at SAENT:

  • Voice Disorders
  • Professional Voice
  • Accent Reduction

If you’re interested in learning more about the services we perform with the Visi-Pitch, or to schedule an appointment with our board-certified otolaryngologist, Dr. Kalpana DePasquale, please click here.

Photo attribute: rit.edu

"But I don’t have heartburn" …Signs and symptoms of reflux disease.

It is very common for patients to believe that they do not have reflux disease because they do not experience the symptom commonly referred to as “heartburn”.  While having heartburn is a definitive symptom of reflux disease, it certainly is not the ONLY symptom.  In fact, individuals who suffer from reflux may not ever experience heartburn. Only about half of individuals with reflux disease experience the symptom of heartburn.

Acid reflux symptoms can range in severity based on the extent of the disease and how long it has gone on uncontrolled.  Patients often do not realize that the collection of symptoms they are experiencing is actually caused by poorly controlled acid reflux disease.

  • Chronic throat clearing
  • Intermittently hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Waking up coughing
  • Burning and/or sore throat
  • Regurgitation
  • Sensation of something stuck in the throat (“Globus sensation”)
  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Excess phlegm

The good news is that these symptoms can be eliminated or significantly reduced once the reflux disease is properly managed through pharmacological intervention along with modification of some lifestyle behaviors.  Often, reflux disease can be adequately controlled through lifestyle modifications alone (dietary changes, weight-loss, smoking cessation, etc).

If you experience some of the symptoms listed above, or experience heartburn regularly, schedule an appointment with Dr. DePasquale as soon as possible to obtain an accurate diagnosis based on your individual symptoms.  If left untreated, acid reflux disease can cause severe and irreversable damage to the tissues of your digestive tract, throat, voice box and teeth.

-Amy Michie, MA, CCC/SLP, St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat

Are you one of the 7 million Americans who experience a voice disorder?

Did you know that approximately 7 million Americans experience some variation of a voice disorder and may not even realize it? Voice disorders are unfortunately terribly common, and the recurring symptoms often go unnoticed and untreated.

Many speech pathologists agree that women are more susceptible to voice disorders, often because they are more likely to be performing everyday duties that require them to talk often, for long hours on end. Consider that many teachers who speak for several hours a day are women, as are attorneys, doctors, secretaries, and administrative assistants. You could even argue that stay at home moms of growing children talk much throughout the day.

Voice health is also vital for most professional settings, regardless of sex. Consider how much sales representatives, politicians, and even local or national TV personalities all use their voices in everyday functional work roles.

But the symptoms for a voice disorder are especially coy. Of the most obvious symptoms is probably persistent pain or sore throats from regular speaking activities and efforts, or a lasting hoarseness and diminishing control of volume. The more veiled symptoms include a slight yet persistent (for months on end) cough or constant throat clearing.

Unfortunately, much of the typical American’s daily activities are catalysts for the onset of a significant voice disorder, and at the very least are irritants. Smoking can exasperate voice disorders a great deal; while so too can prolonged yelling or screaming.

Dr. DePasquale’s Tips for Taking Care of your Voice

Dr. DePasquale of St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat offers a handful of great tips for taking better care of your voice that can help you to avoid developing a long-term voice disorder.

  • Drink plenty of water – water helps to coat the throat in ways that saliva simply won’t suffice.
  • Use microphones when possible – think of the office manager who gathers around 50 people to make quick Monday morning announcements, usually by simply “speaking up” without the assistance of a microphone. PA systems and equipment are cheap and can dramatically reduce the threat of developing a voice disorder in regular, everyday speaking engagements.
  • Use your diaphragm, not your voice – this is a practice that many professional singers and speakers use. Utilize your diaphragm rather than your throat to project your words, and regularly practice good breathing techniques.
  • Avoid the obvious – straining your voice in a noisy crowd or environment, get plenty of rest and exercise regularly (in other words, practice health habits in all other aspects of your life), and consider eating less spicy foods, limit your intake of coffee and alcohol, and avoid extensive ingestion of mouth wash.

And of course, if you suspect you may have a voice disorder or are experiencing symptoms of a disorder developing, consider seeing an otolaryngologist, or a doctor who specializes in voice. Visit Dr. DePasquale in St. Augustine, Florida by contacting us and setting up a consultation today!