January 15, 2012

Miss America, SLP-CCC

Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler won the Miss America title for 2012 this past weekend.

This news co-mingled with all the other news of the day, except for one key fact that caught my attention...

Miss Kaeppelar majored in music and vocal performance and plans to obtain a Master's degree in speech and language pathology (SLP).

A voice major with a Master's in SLP is a rare combination that is in great demand in the world of laryngology where singers with vocal injury are common. A SLP who specializes in the injured voice is rare. A SLP who knows and understands opera intimately is exceedingly rare.

The vast majority of SLP are specialists in speech production... not voice.

Why is this distinction important?

Speech is basically sound that is produced by a person after modification by the lips, teeth, tongue, palate, and throat of a person. As such, speech issues are related to problems stemming from these anatomical parts.

Voice is basically the sound that is produced by the voicebox. Basically, it is the noisemaker upon which the sound produced is modified to ultimately produce speech. In another words, "voice" is created prior to "speech". Voice problems are limited to anatomical or functional abnormalities of the voicebox resulting in a raspy/hoarse/breathy sounding voice. Such problems include vocal cord nodules, vocal cord polyps, spasmodic dysphonia, paralyzed vocal cords, etc.

Depending on whether a patient is suffering from a speech problem or a voice problem determines what type of SLP is appropriate.

Miss Kaeppelar would (hopefully) be classified into a special (and rare) category of SLP who specializes not just in voice therapy, but voice therapy for singers with an injured voice.

Read more about voice versus speech therapy here.

Miss America confronted family pain with pageant. FoxNews 1/14/12
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

Banner Map

Pediatric Neck Masses

Adult Neck Mass Workup