We specialize in the evaluation and management of voice, swallowing and airway disorders. These include services for patients with professional voice demands, voice misuse and abuse, recurrent laryngitis, spasmodic dysphonia, vocal cord paralysis, the aging voice, cancer of the larynx, benign vocal cord lesions, and neurological speech and swallowing difficulties related to conditions such as Parkinson's disease.
The voice and swallowing team is led by Michael P. Underbrink, MD, MBA, FACS a board-certified otolaryngologist with fellowship training in laryngology and voice disorders.
All new patients are evaluated by Dr. Underbrink and a speech pathologist who has specialized training in voice and swallowing disorders. Additional specialist services or diagnostic testing are arranged as needed after initial evaluation.
We currently have a convenient location in the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Plaza 3 building to provide your voice, swallowing, and airway disorder issues.
Memorial Hermann Memorial City- Plaza 3
915 Gessner, Suite 280
Houston, Texas 77024
Closed Saturday and Sunday
About Michael P. Underbrink, MD, MBA, FACS
Monday - Friday: Memorial City Office
Dr. Underbrink is a voice, swallowing, and airway disorders specialist at Houston ENT and Allergy.
Michael P. Underbrink, MD earned his undergrad degree at Texas A&M. With an interest in Business Administration he then went on to attaining his MBA at the University of Houston.
Dr. Underbrink attended medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. He then completed his residency at UTMB in Galveston. He also completed a Clinical Laryngeal Fellowship at the University of Washington Medical Center located in Seattle, Washington. Ultimately completing his Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the acclaimed Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington.
Dr. Underbrink also specializes in the Inspire Sleep Apnea Device implant procedure to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
About Charisse Wright, MS CCC-SLP
Monday-Friday Memorial City Office
Charisse Wright is a speech and language pathologist at Houston ENT and Allergy.
Charisse earned her undergrad degree at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
She also attended the University of Utah where she obtained her graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology.
Our team will evaluate and provide diagnoses and treatment for a wide range of voice, swallowing and airway disorders.
Laryngitis is an inflammation of your larynx (voice box) from irritation, overuse or infection. Your vocal cords are inside your larynx. These are two folds of mucous membrane that covers cartilage and muscle. Typically, vocal cords open and close without problems, forming sounds through their vibration and movement.
With laryngitis, however, they become irritated and inflamed, causing distortion of the sounds air passing over them produces. This results in your voice sounding hoarse. Your voice can even become nearly undetectable in some cases of laryngitis.
Hoarseness is a presentation doctors see in primary care and ear, nose and throat practices, and is the reason for around one percent of all primary care consultations.
It's important to know hoarseness isn't a disease in itself, but rather a symptom.
WHAT IS A HOARSE VOICE (HOARSENESS)?
Hoarseness, or dysphonia, is where you have an abnormal change in your voice quality, which makes it sound:
Lower or higher in pitch
It often makes it difficult for you to talk. This typically occurs when you have a problem in the vocal cords of your larynx (voice box) which produces sound. When you breathe your vocal cords (folds) are separated, however, when you make a noise, they come together and they vibrate when the air is leaving your lungs. Hoarseness results when anything alters the closure or vibration of your vocal cords.
Vocal cord paralysis can impact how you speak and breathe, resulting in vocal cord muscle paralysis.This is due to your vocal cords (or your vocal folds) doing much more than simply produce sound. Your vocal cords also keep your airway protected by preventing your saliva, your food and your drinks from entering your trachea (windpipe) and causing you to choke.
The Vocal Cord Paresis definition is: Paralysis of the vocal cords is a condition of your voice that can occur when one or both of your vocal cords don't properly open or close. More common is single vocal cord paralysis. But, paralysis of both your vocal cords can occur and can be life-threatening, though rare.
The dysphagia definition is that it is a type of swallowing disorder where it takes more effort and time for you to move foods or liquids to your stomach, from your mouth. Swallowing disorders could also be linked with pain and sometimes, it may be impossible to swallow at all. You may experience problems with swallowing on occasion, such as if you don't chew your food good enough or you eat too quickly and this isn't a cause for concern.
However, if you're experiencing persistent dysphagia, it could be an indication of a more serious medical problem or condition that requires treatment. Dysphagia can cause despair and mortality.
While anyone at any age can have dysphagia, it's a common disorder in older adults. There are various causes of swallowing disorders and the cause will be the deciding factor in your treatment.
Vocal cord disorders can not only impact your vocal cords, but your voice and ability to talk, too. Vocal cord nodules affect both boys and girls of any age and commonly cause voice problems in both adults and children.
WHAT ARE NODULES OF THE VOCAL CORDS?
Vocal cord nodules are defined as growths that grow on your vocal cords. But, are vocal cord nodules dangerous? They're benign (non-cancerous) bumps, and can be likened to calluses you get on your hands.
Your next question may be, "can vocal cord nodules become cancerous?" Typically, benign nodules go away if you practice voice therapy or rest your voice. It's rare that you would need vocal cord nodules surgery.
Vocal nodules are also called "vocal fold" nodules by doctors and "Singer's nodules" since individuals can inadvertently "abuse" their vocal cords when they use their voice regularly and cause these growth formations along with other related voice problems.