Joanne Fenn
Joanne Fenn, M.S., CCC-SLP

Joanne Fenn, M.S., CCC-SLP

Joanne Fenn, M.S., CCC-SLP
Clinical Interests / Special Procedures Performed

Swallowing Disorders, Voice Disorders

  • Accepting Children: No
  • Accepting New Patients: Yes
  • Accepting Medicare: Yes
  • Accepting Medicaid/DSHS: Yes
Payment Methods Accepted:

Medicare, Medicaid/DSHS, Bill Insurance, VISA, Master Card, Cash, Check, American Express, Discover Card

Insurance Accepted:

Contact this office for accepted insurance plans.

Additional Information:

Joanne is a speech language pathologist and clinical specialist in voice and swallowing disorders, and in disorders related to head and neck cancer treatment.  She provides evaluation and treatment for a variety of voice, swallowing and other related conditions including professional voice issues and vocal cord dysfunction. She has clinical expertise in all aspects of alaryngeal voice restoration including tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) prosthesis fitting and management, electrolarynx training, and teaching esophageal speech.  She is a faculty member and clinical instructor for the I.A.L. (International Association of Laryngectomees) Annual Voice Institute and is listed in the I.A.L. Directory of Alaryngeal Speech Instructors.  She facilitates the Seattle Chapter of the SPOHNC support group for oral, head and neck cancer.  Joanne is an ASHA member, and a member of the ASHA Special Interest Groups 3 & 13 for Voice and Swallowing Disorders.

Philosophy of Care

I view my patients as active partners in developing an individualized, patient centered treatment plan. The care provided by our team emphasizes patient needs, concerns and priorities, working together in your rehabilitation to enhance function when possible, and to improve quality of life.

Personal Interests

Hiking, skiing, gardening, cooking

Medical School

University of Washington

Fellowship(s)

Seattle V.A. Hospital

Board Certifications

Speech Language Pathology

Languages:

English

Professional Associations:

American Speech-Language Hearing Association, International Association of Larygectomees Voice Institute

Awards:

American Cancer Society 'Quality of Life Award', 1990 International Association of Laryngectomees 'Master Clinician Award', 2008

Additional Information:

Joanne is a speech language pathologist and clinical specialist in voice and swallowing disorders, and in disorders related to head and neck cancer treatment.  She provides evaluation and treatment for a variety of voice, swallowing and other related conditions including professional voice issues and vocal cord dysfunction. She has clinical expertise in all aspects of alaryngeal voice restoration including tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) prosthesis fitting and management, electrolarynx training, and teaching esophageal speech.  She is a faculty member and clinical instructor for the I.A.L. (International Association of Laryngectomees) Annual Voice Institute and is listed in the I.A.L. Directory of Alaryngeal Speech Instructors.  She facilitates the Seattle Chapter of the SPOHNC support group for oral, head and neck cancer.  Joanne is an ASHA member, and a member of the ASHA Special Interest Groups 3 & 13 for Voice and Swallowing Disorders.

What is Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD)?

Muscle tension dysphonia (MTD) is one of the more confounding and misunderstood conditions of the voice.  With this condition the vocal cords and supporting structures may be healthy but they are working too hard.  MTD is caused by the throat muscles being too tight and out of balance with the rest of the voice production system.  The person with MTD may feel that it takes more effort to talk and their voice gets worse the more they talk.  Many patients may feel a soreness of their neck, throat and often their shoulders. Sometimes MTD may develop in trying to compensate for a weak vocal fold or a vocal fold lesion.

MTD is characterized by the following:

  • Voice that sounds rough, hoarse, gravely, or raspy
  • Voice that sounds weak, breathy, airy, or is only a whisper
  • Voice that sounds strained, pressed, squeezed, tight, or tense
  • Voice that suddenly cuts out, breaks off, changes pitch, or fades away
  • Voice that “gives out” or becomes weaker the longer the voice is used
  • Pitch that is too high or too low
  • Difficulty singing notes that used to be easy
  • Pain or tension in the throat when speaking or singing
  • Feeling like the throat is tired when speaking or singing
  • Voice that may sound normal sometimes, such as during laughing or coughing

Once an otolaryngologist has examined you and diagnosed you with MTD, you will typically be referred to a speech pathologist for voice therapy.  In some cases there may be some underlying physical or emotional stress contributing to the dysphonia.  Our voices are very emotional instruments and help to convey a spectrum of emotions including happiness, sadness and anger.  “I’m all choked up” is more than just a figure of speech.  As such, you may ...

What is voice therapy and how does it work?

You have seen an otolaryngologist about a voice problem and have now been referred for voice therapy. And you may wonder - what in the world will that involve?  You might think, I already know how to talk! 

Voice production is complex. It involves many muscles, multiple systems, and the balance and coordination of these systems in order to produce a healthy voice. Often these muscles or systems can become tight, strained, or imbalanced.  This can either cause a voice problem, or result from a voice problem.  The system can also become imbalanced following voice strain; with a weak vocal fold or a vocal fold lesion; after a cold; or from other sources of throat irritation such as reflux.

Think about pulling a muscle in your back.  Over time, other muscles may become strained by trying to guard, protect or compensate for the initial muscle injury. Your throat is like that too, although many people don’t realize it until something goes wrong with their voice.

Voice therapy is like physical therapy for your voice.  Just like athletes work with trainers and physical therapists after an injury, people with vocal issues benefit from working with a speech pathologist.

During voice therapy sessions you may be asked to:

How to put your best voice forward for World Voice Day, April 16

Effective verbal communication depends not only on what we say, but also on how we sound. Our voice is what connects us and defines us as human beings.

World Voice Day (tomorrow, April 16) recognizes the value and significance of vocal health in everyday life. Between three and 10 percent of people in the United States experience voice problems of some kind.

To keep you speaking clearly, the Voice and Swallowing Disorders Center at Swedish recommends following these tips:

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages cause increased urination. This loss of fluids dries out the voice. Alcohol also irritates the mucous membranes that line the throat.

Don't smoke and avoid second-hand smoke. Cancer of the vocal folds is seen most often in individuals who smoke.

Avoid eating spicy foods. Spicy foods can cause stomach acid to move into the throat or esophagus.

Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods contain vitamins A, E and C. They also help keep the mucus membranes that line the throat healthy.

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Offices

Otolaryngology - First Hill
600 Broadway
Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: 206-215-1770
Fax: 206-215-1771
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Map & Directions
Otolaryngology - Issaquah
751 N.E. Blakely Dr.
5th Floor
Issaquah, WA 98029
Phone: 425-313-7089
Map & Directions
Swedish Cancer Institute - First Hill
1101 Madison Street
Seattle, WA 98104
Map & Directions

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