New ASHA Podcast Focus: Limited Health Care Coverage for Treatment of Voice Disorders

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Untreated Conditions Can Lead To More Expensive Surgeries; Podcast Includes Patient Account of the Impact of a Common Disorder and Limited Coverage

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A new podcast by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) addresses the limited health plan coverage for voice disorders—a widespread and significant health problem.

Estimates of prevalence range from 3% to 7% of the general U. S. population. Untreated, voice disorders cost billions in lost productivity. For occupations like teaching, where voice use is heavy, the cost is almost $3 billion annually.

Effective treatment is available. Yet, some of the largest insurers don’t cover common conditions like muscle tension dysphonia. Why is that? Where does that leave people who have voice disorders? Do they have any options, and if so, what are they?

ASHA’s podcast asks these and other questions of Janet McCarty, who works in the area of private health plan reimbursement for ASHA; Dr. Denis Lafreniere, an ear, nose, and throat specialist; and, Starr Cookman, an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist. Dr. Lafreniere and Ms. Cookman have spent decades diagnosing and treating people who have voice disorders.

Also, Kurt Cote, who has been diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia, shares the experiences that he has had both living with the condition and trying to access care for it.

ASHA offers a service known as ASHA ProFind where listeners can locate ASHA-certified audiologists or speech-language pathologists in their local areas who treat communication disorders.

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 182,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.

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