Welcome to The Riesberg Throat & Voice Center

Want to attain your best possible voice? Riesberg Throat & Voice Center will help you become confident with your communication. We utilize an interdisciplinary team approach, with our full-time speech language pathologist and nationally-recognized speaker Mary Riesberg, along with our specially-trained otolaryngologist, Dr. Michael Riesberg.

At Riesberg Throat & Voice Center, our patients take center stage, offering same-day appointments for voice therapy, throat pain, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, speech disorders, chronic reflux, trouble talking and more. If you or someone you love is experiencing trouble with communication, Request Riesberg.

Medical & Performance Expertise: Total Vocal Wellness for Singers, Presenters, & Executives

Looking for an expert vocal coach and nationally–recognized speaker who will make you feel comfortable and confident? Meet Mary Riesberg — licensed Speech Language Pathologist and vocal coach. Together with Dr. Riesberg, they have provided breakthrough treatment, therapy, and procedures to patients across the Gulf Coast for more than 15 years. Dr. Riesberg was dubbed by the acclaimed Pensacola Opera as the official “Opera Doc” along the Gulf Coast, and has helped maintain award-winning performers’ vocal instruments for over 30 years.

Ready to reclaim your voice? Request Riesberg.
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The Throat & Voice Center at Riesberg Institute is the Gulf Coast affiliate location of the nationally recognized Center of Vocal Excellence (COVE) — combining medical expertise with performance expertise.

COVE is the nation’s premier vocal wellness and training brand for all things voice, frequently working with voice conditions such as polyps, nodules, cysts muscle tension, and chronic cough to the most complex of vocal mysteries. COVE currently has therapeutic destinations in Florida and Montana.

COVE offers private treatment plans to fit your needs, whatever your vocal condition:

Expert Team CareGet Healthy

Our team of experts specialize in diagnosing and treatment the most complex vocal conditions. Find the treatment plan that works for you.

Vocal Wellness Program – Stay Well

Maintain your profitability and quality of life with an annual vocal exam. Read how here.

Performance Training – Be Heard

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a future sensation, the experts at COVE will work with you to take your vocal performance to the next level. To find out how, click here.

Find out more about why COVE is nationally-recognized by professional speakers and performers as The Nation’s Premier Vocal Wellness and Training Destination: centerofvocalexcellence.com.

Patients In The Spotlight

Your speedy recovery, comfort, and satisfaction are our top priority at Riesberg Institute. We strive to be long-term partners in your health and vitality. Below you can hear from a few of our satisfied patients from around the community.

Learn About Voice Disorders, Symptoms, & Treatments

Our voice is one of the characteristics that make us uniquely different from each other. It is the primary instrument with which we project our personalities and influence others. The vocal cords are also responsible for helping to protect the upper airway during swallowing to prevent aspiration.

The quality of the voice depends on the condition and movement of the vocal folds. If the vocal folds become swollen, inflamed, develop growths or become paralyzed, they cannot vibrate properly. This can result in a voice disorder. Voice problems may arise from various local and systemic diseases, trauma, or improper use.

Ready to reclaim your voice? Request Riesberg.

Voice Disorder Causes:

  • Illness such as common colds or upper respiratory infections
  • Allergies
  • Esophageal reflux
  • Vocal misuse (screaming, prolonged singing out of range)
  • Aging
  • Scarring from neck surgery or from trauma to the front of the neck
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid problems
  • Neurological disorders
  • Psychological stress

Throat & Voice Disorder Symptoms:

  • Hoarseness — Hoarseness is the most common symptom of a voice disorder. Anyone who has had hoarseness for more than a week should see a doctor.
  • Breathy vocal quality
  • Chronic cough or excessive throat clearing
  • Vocal strain or fatigue
  • Inability to speak loudly
  • Loss of voice
  • Reduced pitch range or sudden change in overall pitch
  • Sudden or gradual change in overall vocal quality
  • Tremulous quality in the voice
  • Decreased breath support during speech

Suffering From These Voice Conditions?

LARYNGITIS

Laryngitis is an inflammation or swelling of the vocal folds caused by excessive use of the voice, bacterial or viral infections, or irritants such as inhaled chemicals or stomach acid that has backed up into the throat.

VOCAL POLYPS

Polyps on the vocal folds -polyps are benign growths similar to vocal nodules but are softer and more like blisters than calluses. They most often form on only one vocal cord. Chronic misuse of the voice is often associated with vocal fold polyps.

NODULES ON THE VOCAL FOLDS

Vocal nodules are small, benign (noncancerous) callus-lile growths on the vocal cords, usually related to vocal abuse. Nodules are the most common type of voice disorder among teachers, speakers, performers, and professional singers.

VOCAL FOLD CYSTS

Cysts are collections of fluid in sac-like formations on the vocal folds.

VOCAL FOLD PARALYSIS

Vocal cord paralysis (or paresis) is a common disorder caused by one or both of the vocal cords not opening or closing properly. Someone who has vocal cord paralysis often also has difficulty swallowing and coughing because food or liquids can slip into the trachea and lungs.

MUSCLE TENSION

The vocal folds are basically two muscles with mucous layers. When the vocal folds, or the surrounding muscles become too tense, vibrations of the vocal folds is disturbed. This can lead to vocal fatigue or strain with prolonged use.

NEUROLOGIC VOICE DISORDERS (SPASMODIC DYSPHONIA)

Spasmodic dysphonia is a voice disorder caused by involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the voice box (larynx), causing the voice to sound strained or strangled.

PARADOXICAL VOCAL FOLD DYSFUNCTION (PVFD)

PVFD is a breathing problem that occurs when the vocal folds close instead of open. PVFD is common in athletes and is often misdiagnosed as asthma. In fact, patients may be seen by multiple specialists before a diagnosis is made. Common symptoms of PVFD include:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Voice changes
  • Dry cough
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Exercise
  • Tightness of the throat and chest
REFLUX DISEASE

Silent acid reflux disease can also cause problems with the speaking. It also affects the singing voice; professional voice users may notice the following common symptoms:

  • Reduced range
  • Gaps in the range
  • Vocal fatigue
  • Throat clearing
  • Cough
  • Feeling as though there is a lump in the throat

Voice Disorder Treatments

Once the diagnosis is determined, Dr. Michael Riesberg may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

Medications

Medical intervention is also available for treating voice disorders. Certain medications be taken orally, injected into the vocal folds, or applied topically during surgery — depending on the underlying cause of the voice disorder. Dr. Riesberg has advanced training in the medical treatment of voice disorders.

Voice Therapy

This may be the first, and most effective, treatment for vocal disorders is practicing proper hygiene and hydration. Like any other part of the body, the vocal folds need regular rest and fluids. The purpose of voice therapy is to help you attain the best possible voice and the most relief from the vocal symptoms. Our office is staffed with a Speech-Language Pathologist, Mary Riesberg, who can provide guidance about how to use and rest the voice.

Vocal Surgery Options

REMOVAL OF LESIONS

Lesions (nodules/polyps) usually only form on the vocal folds after a prolonged period of abuse. They can occur from a combination of events such as a respiratory infection (hard coughing) or chronic misuse of the voice. When a permanent lesion forms, it takes up space between the edges of the vocal folds and disturbs the vibration of the vocal folds, and disrupts the airflow to the lungs. To regain normal vibrations and airflow, the lesion must be surgically removed. Surgical options are usually made after a trial of voice therapy.

BULK INJECTION

If vocal folds are determined to be too far apart, due to weakness or extreme muscle tension, Dr. Riesberg may inject or implant a substance such as body fat or collagen (a synthetic material) to add bulk to vocal folds. This moves the folds closer together so they can more easily make contact. This provides a temporary treatment allow time for the body to recover for and vocal fold trauma.

BOTULINUM (BOTOX) TOXIN TREATMENTS

The purpose of this treatment is to decrease muscle spasms or abnormal movements for people who have spasmodic dysphonia (a neurological movement disorder that affects the vocal muscles of the larynx). During the treatment, tiny amounts of purified toxin are injected into muscles, causing them to relax for up to five – six months.

THYROPLASTY

This surgical procedure adjusts the cartilage (were the vocal folds are attached) by pushing the folds together. This is often used for vocal fold paralysis or paresis. Thyroplasty has the added benefit of not disturbing the movement of vocal fold lining tissue, which helps preserve the voice.

Voice Disorder Services

Diagnosing voice disorders starts with a detailed history and a thorough physical examination. At Riesberg Institute Throat & Voice Center, we provide
several diagnostic methods to help determine the cause of a voice disorder, including:

BASIC MIRROR EXAM

By placing a small laryngeal mirror at the back of the throat, Dr. Riesberg can inspect the vocal folds for abnormalities.

FLEXIBLE LARYNGOSCOPY

A narrow, flexible viewing tube is inserted into the nose to allow Dr. Riesberg to view the vocal folds. The tube has a light at one end and a viewing piece or camera at the other.

VIDEO STROBOSCOPE

A video camera combined with a flashing light source offers a slow-motion view of vocal fold movement. The procedure provides valuable information any pathology on the vocal folds.

VOCAL ACOUSTIC ANALYSIS

This test measures irregularities in the sound produced by vocal fold movements.

DIRECT LARYNGOSCOPE

Doctors use a rigid viewing scope to examine vocal folds.

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Suffering From A Swallowing Disorder?

The act of swallowing is an orchestrated event involving many muscles. Problems may occur in the mouth (oral stage) involving the lips or tongue. The pharynx (pharyngeal stage) with foods sticking in the throat or things going down the wrong way. And finally, the esophagus (esophageal stage) involving problems with the tube leading to the stomach.

 

Swallowing Disorder Treatments

At Riesberg Institute Throat & Voice Center, we offer FEES (Fiberotic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing) evaluations. The test involves passing a flexible scope through the nose and recording video images while the patient eats and drinks. Dr. Riesberg reviews the exam and makes a medical diagnosis, and our speech pathologist makes recommendations for rehabilitation and/or compensatory techniques to make swallowing easier.

Trouble swallowing? Request Riesberg.

SWALLOWING DISORDER SYMPTOMS

Coughing while eating or drinking, or very soon after eating or drinking

Your voice sounds wet or gurgly during or after eating

Multiple swallows are needed on a single mouthful of food

Increased congestion in the chest after eating or drinking

Difficulty or increased effort to chew or swallow

Fatigue or shortness of breath while eating

Spike in temperature

Weight loss associated with increased slowness in eating

Recurrent unexplained pneumonia or upper respiratory infections

Weight loss

Drooling or leakage from the mouth and lips