Professional Voice Care 

Introduction
The voice should not be taken for granted.  For non-professionals, voice is essential for communication.  For professional singers and speakers, voice is a precious tool that needs to be well cared for to perform optimally.  There are many steps you can take to protect your voice and avoid problems.  If you do develop difficulties, prompt attention by a professional voice care specialist, such as an ENT doctor called an otolaryngologist, can help ensure your vocal health.

Back to Top

Anatomy
The vocal cords (folds) are located in the voice box (larynx) in your neck.  When you talk or sing the vocal cords vibrate and create sound. 

Back to Top

Causes
Any condition that affects the vocal cords can change the quality of sound that is produced.  Such conditions include swelling, bleeding, growths, dehydration, rough edges, trauma, infection, and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). 

Back to Top

Diagnosis
It is recommended that performers receive a baseline voice evaluation.  The evaluation may help identify potential problems and tailor a customized prevention plan.  Your doctor will review your medical history and lifestyle habits.  Your vocal cords will be examined with an endoscope. 
 
An endoscope is a thin tube with a viewing instrument and a light source.  The endoscope is inserted through the nose to allow the doctor to view your vocal cords while you speak or sing.  It is inserted into your mouth to create a magnified view of your vocal cord structures.

Back to Top

Treatment
Treatments for professional voice care depend on the cause of your difficulty.  For example, GERD may be treated with medications and changes in eating habits, whereas a polyp growth may need to be surgically removed, and infections may be treated with antibiotics.  Others may benefit from participating in voice therapy with a speech language pathologist.  Your voice care specialist will discuss treatment and prevention recommendations that are specific to you.

Back to Top

Prevention
Common ways to prevent voice problems include:

• Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep and relaxation
• Drinking plenty of water and avoiding products that contribute to dehydration, such as caffeine, alcohol, decongestants, and antihistamines.
• Avoid spicy and acidic foods, mint, chocolate, milk products, alcohol, and carbonated beverages that can increase stomach acid and cause GERD.
• Do not smoke cigarettes and avoid second hand smoke
• Talk to your doctor before using aspirin, NSAIDS (e.g., ibuprofen and naproxen) or blood thinning medication, as they can cause vocal cord bleeding and hoarseness
• Use proper breathing techniques
• Avoid forceful throat clearing or coughing.

Back to Top

 

Copyright ©  - iHealthSpot, Inc. - www.iHealthSpot.com

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.