My voice range is decreased from last year and I feel discomfort while speaking and my voice gets tired after speaking for an hour or 2. I visited an ENT and he told me that my vocal folds were weak. Did he mean that it is vocal cord paralysis though he said both cords were moving?
Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...
Certainly, vocal fold "weakness" is described in cases of vocal fold paresis or presbylarynx, the condition of thinning or atrophy of the vocal folds due to aging; however, I cannot comment on what your Ear, Nose, and Throat physician meant by his/ her description. If you were unclear as to your diagnosis, I would suggest re-assessment or perhaps a second opinion.
I got your information from the Chase Brexton web site for Voice Therapy. The web site referenced Melissa Walker. I would be interested in a Laser Assisted Voice Adjustment to feminize my voice more.
Is this something that can be done; also, in general what would be the cost of such a thing?
Barbara Messing MA CCC-SLP, BCS-S replies....
Our laryngologists have not performed any laser-assisted surgeries to feminize the voice. Jennifer Anderson in Toronto has published a series of patients for whom she created anterior commissure web, functionally shortening the vocal folds and raising pitch.
Laryngeal stroboscopy is one of the most useful and state-of-the-art techniques currently available for the examination of the larynx. At the Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head and Neck Center, the laryngeal stroboscopy examination is performed jointly by a physician and a speech pathologist.
VIEW BROCHURE Frequently Asked Questions about Laryngeal Stroboscopy What happens during the evaluation?
Step 1: You will first be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding the onset of your voice problem, your medical history and current medications, current voice demands, and any specific symptoms related to your voice problem.
Step 2: A speech pathologist will guide you in performing simple vocal tasks using a microphone. Computer analysis of your vocal quality will then be performed.
Step 3: The physician may spray a topical anesthetic in your throat for your comfort during the procedure. (Note: Please inform the physician if you have had any reactions to anesthesia in the past.)
Step 4: The physician will insert a small endoscope through your mouth towards the back of your tongue. The endoscope provides a telescopic video recording of your larynx. The speech pathologist will then ask you to perform various voice tasks in order to observe the movement of your vocal cords and the condition of your larynx. How long will it take?
The entire evaluation may take approximately thirty minutes to one hour; however, the total time that the endoscope is in your mouth is only approximately two minutes.
When will I receive the results?
Immediately following the evaluation, the physician and speech pathologist will review your results and provide recommendations which may include one or all of the following: referrals, medication, voice therapy, and/ or surgery.
How do I need to prepare?
There is no preparation required for the procedure. You may eat and drink as you wish. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the appointment to complete the necessary paperwork.
For information or to schedule an appointment, please call (443) 849-2087.
My brother has cancer of the esophagus - lost his voice and is now speaking again. He is still unable to swallow after radiation /chemo. He keeps getting lots of foaming coming up even after trying to swallow one drop of water. Any suggestion to eliminate the foaming? Thanks
Barbara P. Messing, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-S replies...
Thank you for your online request. Certainly every situation is different and it is not possible for me to know what treatments were performed, but generally speaking - I would recommend that evaluation by a speech pathologist to determine why swallowing is not possible and that may indeed determine why foamy secretions are so persistent and copious.
For attorney Richard Eventoff, persistent vocal hoarseness presented a challenge in his everyday life. Treatment at the Johns Hopkins Voice Center located at GBMC changed his life. This is his story, in his own words.
Hospitals and doctors’ offices are all too familiar for me. I’ve had more than 15 surgeries during my life, from an appendectomy and tonsillectomy as a child to orthopedic surgeries on my knees and wrists as an adult. After a frightening open heart surgery in 2003, I hoped that my days of medical procedures would be behind me. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
In 2012, I started to develop a raspy voice that didn’t go away. It wasn’t a painful feeling; I was just always hoarse. The symptom continued for about a year and a half. Since I’m a lawyer who negotiates union contracts for a living, it’s important for me to be able to speak clearly and effectively. I finally went to see a doctor, looking for answers. The first doctor told me that I simply needed to rest my voice and the problem would resolve itself. So, for a while, I tried to do most of my work by email instead of speaking.
When the hoarseness didn’t go away, the doctor examined my throat more closely, diagnosed me with vocal cord disease and recommended surgical procedures to remove several lesions that had developed. But the symptoms persisted and the lesions kept coming back. My doctor sent me to see Lee Akst, MD, an otolaryngologist at the Johns Hopkins Voice Center located at GBMC, for more specialized treatment.
When I walked into the Voice Center, I was filled with uncertainty, wondering if I might have cancer or if I would need to have my vocal cords removed. When I met Dr. Akst, he had a calming effect on me. It was apparent that he had cared for patients like me before. He was very knowledgeable and took his time explaining everything to me.
With vocal cord disease, repeated surgeries can cause scarring in the throat, which affects the long-term quality of a person’s voice. I did not recover quickly from the first surgeries and had to whisper for weeks at a time afterward instead of speaking normally. I was concerned about what my voice might sound like in the future as a result of the procedures. Dr. Akst and the Voice Center team established a way to manage my vocal cord disease while keeping my voice quality intact using a technique called microlaryngoscopy. The treatment was much less invasive than what I had previously experienced. For example, when he looked at my throat, Dr. Akst used a device that went through my mouth instead of my nose. This method was easier and also put my anxiety to rest.
During my most recent appointment with Dr. Akst, he said my throat looks better than ever! I have never liked looking at the screen showing images of my vocal cords, but during this last appointment, Dr. Akst strongly encouraged me to look at the remarkable “before and after” photos. It was truly amazing to see the difference that I can already feel and hear. Today, everyday life is enjoyable. It’s much easier now to communicate with my clients! I’m married to a wonderful woman and a typical weekend finds us relaxing at the pool in our backyard with any of our nine grandchildren. In my free time, I help to rehabilitate birds of prey and tend to my freshwater stingray tank. There’s never a dull moment at our house! I’m so grateful to Dr. Akst and the Voice Center for allowing me to continue living the life I love.
An Inside Look at the Voice Center Fender Voice & Music Studio—Voice therapy for performing artists is provided in the fully equipped music studio offering guitars, a digital baby grand piano, amplifiers, microphones and recording capabilities to meet the needs of performers.
Laryngeal Procedure Room—Laryngeal Stroboscopy, vocal fold augmentation/injections and vocal fold laser treatments are performed in the laryngeal procedure room. These procedures are performed for a variety of vocal fold impairments.
Stroboscopy Room—In the stroboscopy room, a physician or speech pathologist uses an endoscope, which provides telescopic video recordings of a patient’s larynx, to help diagnose underlying causes of a patient’s voice issues. During the procedure, the physician and the speech pathologist instruct the patient to perform various vocal tasks in order to observe vocal cord movement and to identify any vocal pathologies.
Body & Movement Room—The movement education studio is designed for body-centered therapy to enhance body awareness, release chronic muscular tensions and promote the physical freedom necessary for vocal flexibility
For additional information about the Johns Hopkins Voice Center located at GBMC, visit www.gbmc.org/voice or call 443-849-GBMC (4262).
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.