Voice Laryngology clinic

  • Children are usually referred to the Laryngology clinic when there is some concern about their voice and/or the way they breathe. (For example they may be a 'noisy breather').  As a parent or carer, if you know what to expect before the appointment you are better able to help your child be prepared, answer questions they may have and give themconfidence and reassurance.  If possible, it is better if you can stay with your child during the appointment.  To help us find the cause of your child's problem, we will ask you questions about your child's health history and any current problems they may be having. We will also talk with your child.

    How you say it: Laryngology laryn-gol-lo-jee (gol as in gold..)

    Who will my child see?

    • The Otolaryngologist, an expert doctor specialising in problems with the Ears, Nose and Throat (sometimes called an ENT doctor or surgeon) will examine your child's ears, nose and mouth. 
    • A Speech Pathologist will ask specific questions about your child's voice and speech.

    How you say it: Otolaryngologist oto-laryn-gol-lo-jist

    What is a Laryngoscopy?

    Usually we need to look inside your child's throat to find out what is causing the problem. We do this with a little flexible tube called a 'flexible Laryngoscope'.  It has a light and a camera attached at one end so we can easily look into the back of the throat and voice box and film what we see. This is called a Laryngoscopy.

    How you say it: Laryngoscopy larin-goss-copy, Laryngoscope larin-go-scope

    What to expect

    • The doctor (Otolaryngologist) examines your child's nose and then sprays a little anaesthetic up the nostril. This makes the inside of the nose and the back of the throat feel numb, so that the Laryngoscope can easily slide in the nose without much distress or discomfort to your child. The spray doesn't taste very nice so we offer your child a lolly pop to take away the unpleasant taste.
    • After a few minutes the inside of the nose is quite numb.  The doctor will then slide the tube into the nostril to see the back of the throat and the vocal cords. This part can be a bit uncomfortable because the nasal passage is quite small and the back of the throat is sensitive.
    • The Laryngoscopy usually takes a couple of minutes. The image of the inside of your child's nose and throat will appear on a television monitor - you can watch if you wish. Your child will be asked to say a few words or make some sounds during the procedure so that movement of the speech and voice structures can be observed. 
    • The Otolaryngologist and Speech Pathologist will discuss what they see with each other first and then with you. You'll get a chance to talk about treatment options if needed.

    Care at home afterwards

    • The nasal spray takes about an hour to wear off. It can be difficult for your child to swallow during this time so they should be careful with hot drinks and food.
    • If your child has any ongoing discomfort they can take some paracetamol.
    • If you have ongoing concerns talk to your family doctor or call the RCH ENT Department - tel (03) 9345 4860.

    Clinic staff

    • Otolaryngologist-Consultant (ENT) and Fellow (ENT)
    • Speech Pathologists

    For more information

    • If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to the clinic staff during your appointment.
    • If you have ongoing concerns talk to your family doctor.

    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital General Surgery and Urology departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Reviewed June 2020.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.


This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.