Friday, December 12, 2014

Nodules / Polyps / Cysts


I have had 5 surgeries to remove remove polyps from my vocal cords and will have my 6th surgery on Dec 3rd. I have had 3 different doctors during the surgeries. My last surgery was done at UNC in Durham, NC, in June, 2014, and my upcoming surgery will be done at the the same hospital. The 5 previous biopsy have no signs of cancer. My question is should I continue having surgery to remove the polyps if they continue to return?

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes... 
 
This is a question that would only be able to be answered by your surgeon; I would recommend that seek out a second opinion if you don't feel as though your physicians have thoroughly addressed your concerns.

Good luck to you!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Son Loses Voice Often

My 11-year-old son loses his voice often. It started about 3 years ago. If he goes to camp, outdoor activities with groups of people, or anything that involves talking a lot or playing loud, he'll lose his voice. I took him to the doctor, who said probably nodules, and to try and keep him from talking when they get inflamed. My question is, if this continues, could this damage his voice for good? Are there any new signs I should watch for? I hate to see what it is going to sound like when he goes through the change.

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

There are no "new" symptoms to look for... symptoms of nodules include hoarse, breathy vocal quality and a tendency to "lose" the voice with excessive use. I would suggest that you ask your physician for a referral to a speech pathologist. Voice therapy can often successfully resolve, or at least reduce, the nodules so that vocal quality and endurance improves.

Thank you for your question.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hoarse Voice

For the last several years, I have experienced hoarseness in my voice, had the sensation of a lump in the throat (this symptom only after drinking MatTea vocal elixir for 7 days in a row), post-nasal drip, stuffy sinuses, chronic throat clearing, excessive throat mucous and a sore throat. I used to have a great singing voice (not professional, but I do talk for a living) but now I can barely make it through a song and I sound like an 80 year old smoker (and I am neither). I've been to ENT doctors and a speech therapist at Stanford, but nothing seems to help (and acid reflux medication seems to make it worse). I don't have nodules. Please help!

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

There are any number of conditions that can contribute to the symptoms you describe, so to suggest a possible diagnosis would be conjecture. If you've seen general Ear, Nose, and Throat physicians for prior assessments, then I would suggest seeking out a laryngologist, an ENT who specializes in the treatment of voice disorders. Ask your physician for a referral or visit the American Academy of Otolaryngology at www.entnet.org to search by sub-specialty.

Good luck to you!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hoarse Voice

I had loss of voice beginning of April after a URI, followed by 8 weeks of raspiness, hoarseness before being seen by an ENT doctor and diagnosed with laryngeal reflux. I was put on a PPI, liquid antacid at bedtime diet modification, head of bed elevation,etc. in June.  I am a frequent singer but have not sung since March. I stay well hydrated. My voice is still raspy and rough, gets easily tired though there has been some improvement. How long should I expect these symptoms to continue? Do I need different medicine, a second opinion? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

Persistent hoarseness following an upper respiratory infection may indicate a related functional voice disorder. Muscle tension dysphonia, a general term to describe excessive and unnecessary tension of laryngeal muscles during voicing, is often seen following any condition that causes irritation and subsequent compensatory change in vocal technique (e.g., upper respiratory infection, laryngopharyngeal reflux) Treatment involves intervention for any underlying conditions, and voice therapy with a speech pathologist who specializes in the treatment of voice disorders; ask your physician for a referral.

Good luck to you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Recovery from a paralyzed vocal cord

For the last 6 months I have suffered from a paralyzed right vocal cord as a result of a viral neuropathy. Six months later I am beginning to progress and believe the nerve to be healing. I am able to gain some voice, though it is strained and croaky first thing in the morning. The rest of the time it sounds like a forced whisper with much improved breathing. Would I cause damage by returning to work as a teacher of 9-year-olds, or would it be more advisable to wait a while until my voice has healed properly?

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

You will not cause any further damage by attempting to use your voice for teaching purposes - although you may experience a good deal of vocal fatigue. There are many treatment options available to individuals with a paralyzed vocal fold, however, including both surgical and therapeutic options... discuss available treatment with your physician.

Best of luck to you.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Vocal Cord Nodules Treatment

Hi, I have had acid reflux and asthma for a few years and since the summer have been experiencing chronic bronchitis which has worsened the asthma. I was hospitalized for a week and I have lost my voice since September 15th, 2014. Initially they thought laryngitis but I saw the ENT and had a stroboscopy and they found beginning growths, nodules and callous like growths on my vocals chords along with a lot of swelling and mucous and they could see the blood vessels. My throat and glands are painful and burn at times. They have put me on vocal rest until further testing and encourage me not to whisper. They said depending on what happens and the ENT decides after seeing the results will determine next steps. Is there anything I can do to help?

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes... 

The treatment of choice for vocal cord nodules that are newly formed is voice therapy with a speech pathologist who specializes in the treatment of voice disorders; I would suggest that you ask your ENT if voice therapy would be indicated, and if so, if they have a referral source. Vocal rest is indicated if the nodules were observed to be particularly traumatic or hemorrhagic, though rest alone won't typically resolve nodules otherwise. In the interim, however, good vocal hygiene would be recommended, including conservative voice use, adequate hydration, and avoidance of irritants such as smoke and alcohol.

Best of luck to you!