University of South Florida

USF Health Voice Center is here to save your voice

Our voices are one of the most important ways we communicate. Be it projecting to the audience while giving a presentation, encouraging your children on the field or hitting the right notes when you sing, a healthy voice is vital to everyday life. And that means voice disorders can be far more than just a health care nuisance.

Fortunately, the USF Health Voice Center is here to help. The center treats patients with disorders of the upper airway, voice and swallowing.

Yael Bensoussan, MD, MSc

“Voice disorders can really impact patients’ lives as our voices are so important for communicating, socializing and working, especially in the new “zoom era,”‘ said the center’s director, Yael Bensoussan, MD, MSc, who is also an assistant professor of Otolaryngology in the Morsani College of Medicine.

Common symptoms for voice or swallowing disorders include:

  • A quivering sound when you talk or sing
  • Hoarseness ​for more than three weeks
  • A strained or choppy voice
  • A weak or whispery voice
  • A voice that involuntarily changes in pitch or may be too high or low
  • Pain or difficulty when swallowing
  • ​Food getting stuck when swallowing
  • Choking or coughing while eating

The USF Health Voice Center is Tampa Bay area’s only academic multidisciplinary voice center. A typical visit may involve an examination by both a laryngologist and a medical speech pathologist.

“I’m very lucky to have a speech pathologist with me,” Dr. Bensoussan said. “Patients always see both of us, so they can get both of our expertise.”

Stephanie Watts, PhD, SLP

Stephanie Watts, PhD, SLP, is the clinical speech pathologist that works closely with Dr. Bensoussan.

“The model of our practice is to combine surgical, medical and behavioral intervention in a truly collaborative effort,” Dr. Watts said. “We really enjoy seeing patients. We create a journey with our patients.”


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