Phoniatrics focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders, laryngeal dysfunctions, swallowing disorders difficulties, dysfluent and unclear speech and specific language impairment, and the consequent difficulties in communicating and learning.
Typical patient groups include adults with voice disturbances and children with speech and language disorders.
The most severe cases include:
- Voice, speech and swallowing disorders associated with neurological diseases and disorders, and deformations or tumours in the head and neck area
- Professionals working with their voice
- Severe developmental speech and language disorders
- Multilingual children with language disorders.
Typical forms of treatment
Medical rehabilitation is the most common form of phoniatric therapy:
- Speech and voice therapy, often also occupational therapy
- Neuropsychological rehabilitation
- Assessing the phoniatric patient's need for assistive communication or training devices, acquiring them and instructing the patient on how to use them.
Phoniatricians collaborate with speech therapists, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialists, dentists and pediatric neurologists and psychiatrists. Collaboration is often extended to include day care and school personnel. Rehabilitation services are mainly funded by Kela or purchased from the private sector.
Rehabilitation units in the HUS (Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa)
The phoniatric division, part of the department of otorhinolaryngology –head and neck surgery is located in Eye and Ear Hospital in Helsinki. It offers phoniatric services to adult and paediatric patients in the HUS Area.