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Note: For a more complete reference than this glossary, see our new standalone educational website, Bastian Medical Media for Laryngology. Within this glossary, entry titles ending with * were coined or brought into the language of voice disorders by Dr. Bastian, or to our knowledge are used primarily by BVI physicians and Bastian-trained fellows. © 2013 Bastian Voice Institute.

Electroglottography (EGG)

A technology that detects the degree of closure or opening of the vocal folds by measuring the electrical resistance between two electrodes placed on either side of the neck. EGG can give good information about degree of compression of one vocal fold against the other. It provides a waveform that represents the closed and open phases of vocal fold movement. At present, the value of EGG and the measures generated from this technology may be viewed differently in different institutions/clinics. At BVI, we believe that these measures offer little to the typical clinical needs of the diagnostic process, but may be of interest to those doing voice research and of help in voice therapy.

Electromyogram (EMG)

A diagnostic study that provides information about the integrity of the muscles and the nerves in the body. Laryngeal electromyogram (LEMG), of course, limits the study to muscles and nerves of the larynx. Intense visual analysis of the larynx can clearly show the neurological status of three major muscles of the larynx. BVI physicians are proficient in LEMG and used it much more often before discovering the visual correlates of various laryngeal neuropathies. They continue to use LEMG frequently, however, to perform Botox™ injections for spasmodic dysphonia. In this procedure, a very small, sterile disposable needle is inserted into various muscles of the larynx. Then, using an amplifier, loudspeaker, microprocessor, and other high tech equipment, the examiner may see and/or hear how the laryngeal muscles and nerves are working and/or determine the best location for Botox™ injection.


The term itself means to draw or bring forth something that is latent or otherwise hidden. At BVI, where the integrative diagnostic model is used, during the vocal capability battery, the examiner elicits the patient’s vocal phenomenology to uncover a working diagnosis, by asking the individual to perform a variety of vocal tasks designed to uncover the deficit or abnormal phenomenology. For example, weakness that is not very evident during quiet conversation may become obvious when the individual is asked to yell or project the voice.

EMG (electromyogram)

See electromyogram.

Endoscopic surgery

Refers to surgery done “inside” using a special scope that goes through the mouth or nose, rather than, for example, through an incision on the neck. Laryngoscopy means to look inside the larynx. Esophagoscopy means to look into the esophagus; while bronchoscopy means to look inside the tracheobronchial tree of the lungs.

Endotracheal tube

Also known as a breathing tube, placed during surgery to deliver oxygen and anesthetic gases in a controlled fashion. It may also be used in gravely ill persons who need the assistance of a ventilator. Rarely, it may cause injury to the posterior part of the larynx, especially when the tube remains in place for many weeks.

Epidermoid cyst

A subtype of cyst that primarily affects the vocal fold or folds of vocal overdoers. Typically, this type of cyst is most visible on the upper surface of the vocal fold, and is white in color.


A procedure by which the examiner looks inside the full length of the esophagus, as well as the stomach if desired, in order to diagnose an abnormality or to take a biopsy of an abnormal lesion.


The passageway that connects the throat or pharynx to the stomach. Technically, the esophagus begins at the upper esophageal sphincter and ends at the lower esophageal sphincter.

Essential voice tremor

A neurological disorder that causes a regular wavering of the voice, not unlike a singer’s exaggerated vibrato except that it occurs during speech as well as during singing.

Exercise intolerance

An inability to participate in any significant level of aerobic activity without becoming unacceptably short of breath. When this is the result of airway disturbance (as opposed to heart or lung disease), the individual may make involuntary breathing noises, such as stridor, or involuntary inspiratory phonation.