Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ask an Expert - Vocal Health

First I have to start off with some medical history. Two years ago I began getting sinusitis, about 8 times or more a year. I went to an ENT who specializes with singers. (My future career) I was having CONSTANT post nasal drip, and I have a 70% deviated septum. We began experimenting with treatments. I used nasal rinses, nasal sprays, over the counter allergy medicine, prescription allergy medicine, and many antibiotics. The doctor finally decided that I needed my tonsils and adenoids out. So I had them removed in April. It was all fine for a few months. But then my nasal drip started again. At this point, I've had a sinus infection for over a month and antibiotics will NOT help. I have noticed a lack of breath support, swift fatigue and hoarseness. I have an appointment with the specialist on Friday. I need to know what he should be doing. Should he be sticking camera's in my nose and throat to get a good look and to see my vocal folds and chords? I am a 17 year old male singer. I do not know what could be wrong with me.

Melissa Kim, MS, CCC-SLP replies...
Today's gold standard for evaluating the vocal cords is laryngeal stroboscopy, a procedure that requires specialized equipment using a xenon light. The procedure is done with placement of a flexible endoscope through the nose or a rigid endoscope through the mouth, and is not painful. Keep in mind that these endoscopes can be utilized without stroboscopy as well, so if you are seeing the doctor primarily for voice concerns, it would be worth asking if they have the equipment necessary to perform a stroboscopic examination.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Research and Resources on the Larynx

Helpful websites related to voice production and disorders.

Voice AcademyTeachers are thirty-two times more likely to experience voice problems than individuals in any other profession. With information, teachers can self-manage or prevent most voice problems on their own. The Voice Academy is a no-cost, self-directed, virtual school built for the vocal health of U.S. teachers.

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck SurgeryA great source of information on the ears, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck. Updates and fun facts about the specialty of otolaryngology, resources, and current research. Search for an otolaryngologist by name, location, or subspecialty!

The National Center for Voice and SpeechDedicated to studying the powers, limitations, and enhancement of the human voice and speech. Choose from the menu of short, single-topic voice research columns about the singing voice or check out Dr. Ingo Titze's top vocal warm-ups for singers!

The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS)A nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging the highest standards of singing through excellence in teaching and the promotion of vocal education and research. Search for a voice teacher on their Voluntary Teacher Database by location, voice type, and style of music.

The Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA)
An international organization that serves the needs of voice and speech teachers and students in training and practice. They encourage and facilitate opportunities for ongoing education and the exchanging of knowledge and information among professionals in the field. Search for a voice coach by location.

Blue Tree PublishingA publishing service that designs and produces a series of multimedia programs to facilitate educational experience in the professions of otology, laryngology, speech pathology, and audiology. Offers books, software, and other tools needed by doctors, clinicians, and therapists for successful education, diagnosis, and treatment.

Virginia Tech Multimedia Music DictionaryLook up any musical term, listen to audio samples, take quizzes, and view simulations on this comprehensive site of musical terminology!, The Voice Problem, The Voice Problem Website, is dedicated to the support of patients with voice disorders. Informative topics include anatomy and physiology of voice production, voice disorders, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Entertainer's Secret Throat ReliefEntertainer's Secret Throat Relief is a spray formulated to resemble natural mucosal secretions and designed to moisturize, humidify, and lubricate the mucous membranes of the throat and larynx.