Pediatric Voice Disorders

Whether your child was born with a voice disorder or developed one in childhood, the Duke Voice Care Center can help. Our pediatric voice care specialists -- with clinic locations in Durham and Raleigh -- have the expertise to work with your child and family to diagnose vocal disorders and develop a customized treatment plan. We restore your child's voice to the best it can be and help them learn healthy ways to use their voice for life.

About Children's Voice Disorders

Children can develop voice problems from overusing their voices, or from medical conditions like allergies, asthma, and acid reflux. Less often, children may be born with a voice disorder. Common voice problems in children include:

These can affect your child's ability to speak and cause breathing and swallowing problems.

Consider a professional evaluation if your child has frequent laryngitis, seems to strain when talking, or complains of a scratchy throat.​

Choosing a Voice Care Specialist for Your Child

At Duke, we use the latest techniques to evaluate your child and recommend the most appropriate treatment, based on their age and condition.

  • We are one of the few voice centers in the Southeast with a comprehensive team of voice specialists with expertise in children's voice problems.
  • Your child's care team will include pediatric laryngologists -- ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors who specialize in voice disorders -- and speech pathologists, all trained to evaluate and treat children with voice problems, swallowing disorders, and upper-airway breathing problems.
  • If your child needs surgery, it will be performed by a pediatric laryngologist skilled in surgeries of children's voice boxes, which are different than an adult's. Our pediatric laryngologists' expertise ensures your child receives appropriate treatment for their current stage of development.
  • Our singing voice specialists -- speech pathologists with additional training in vocal performance and singing voice rehabilitation -- are experienced performers, singers, and singing teachers who understand the special needs of the young singer. They bring empathy and clinical expertise to evaluating and providing specialized therapy to singers and performers of all ages.
  • If your child's voice disorder is related to a medical condition such as allergies or asthmawe'll coordinate your child's care with the right specialists throughout Duke Health.
  • Our ongoing research ensures your child receives the best, most up-to-date care for their voice disorder. 



A pediatric otolaryngologist and speech pathologist will conduct a comprehensive voice evaluation of your child. Together, our experts will assess the causes of your child's voice problem to ensure an accurate diagnosis. We evaluate your child's voice use patterns -- how much they speak, sing, or use a loud voice -- as well as what their voice sounds like. Our pediatric laryngologist will evaluate whether your child's voice changes have a medical cause such as illness, allergies, acid reflux, or recent surgery. We perform a head-and-neck examination as well as a visual examination of your child's voice box. If chronic cough is a concern, your child's breathing or cough symptoms and other triggers will also be evaluated. Additional tests may be necessary to complete the evaluation.

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