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Phoniatritians in Egypt

The Egyptian Association for Phoniatrians and Logopedics represents professionals who treat pathological conditions that involve voice, speech, language, swallowing, and hearing. It is also combines an accumulation of knowledge from both medical and nonmedical fields of science.

In Egypt the most important medical specialties that contribute to phoniatrics are otorhinolaryngology, neurology, paediatrics, psychiatry, paediatric psychiatry, dentistry, gastroenterology, geriatrics, endocrinology, radiology, genetics, and physical therapy. Many nonmedical specialties also contribute to phoniatrics and are called logopedics.

Speech and language disorders in Egypt include articulation disorders (diagnosis, evaluation methods, intelligibility, motor examination, nasalance, preventive counselling, speech therapy, and medical and surgical treatment), developmental language disorders (psychomotor, cognitive, auditory, and language development of normal and diseased children, evaluation of verbal and nonverbal communication, psychomotor), acquired language disorders, and the evaluation of verbal and nonverbal communication, speech perception, speech and motor evaluation, neurological, laboratory and radiological examination. We also deal with anyone acquiring aphasia or dysartheria at any age. We treat stuttering in all ages in spite of being most frequent in young children between the ages of two and six while they are developing language.

We hope in near future to study transplantation of human embryonic stem cells to injured vocal folds restoring their vibratory characteristics.

Hearing disorders are managed by audiologists and our role is training and rehabilitation of hearing impaired patients before and after using hearing aids or doing cochlear implantation. We deal also with another important field about spoken-word recognition errors in speech audiometry on normal subjects with complete speech intelligibility.

Voice disorders range from acoustics and aerodynamics, to the biomechanics of voice, articulation, and resonance, to voice training, vocal ergonomics, and vocal hygiene, to the complex neurologic, psychiatric, and sociological basis of interpersonal communication. We also can do surgical interventions as vocal fold injections.

Swallowing disorders includes the diagnosis, developmental stages of swallowing, drooling, penetration, retention, regurgitation, aspiration, endoscopic and radiological evaluation, rehabilitation, and medical and surgical treatment are all done by phoiatrians. Swallowing disorders are more frequent in patients with gastroesophageal reflux and in patients with neurological diseases or with a history of cerebrovascular stroke. Neglected cases in swallowing disorders may result in dehydration, malnutrition, respiratory pathologies, and death. This makes the field of phoniatrics more important in our society.

We hope in near future to study transplantation of human embryonic stem cells to injured vocal folds restoring their vibratory characteristics.

Written by Dr. Amany Sakr, MBBS, MSc in phoniatric medicine