Monday, August 29, 2011


I have been thinking about thyroplasty as a way to deepen my voice.  I don't have any medical condition per se, but as a guy it's really hard to have a voice like this. I am having a hard time finding out more about this type of surgery.  Would most surgeons advise against it for my condition?  Is it very dangerous?  Is it available in the US?  Are there less invasive ways to change my voice?

Lee Akst, M.D. replies....

I can only answer generally but cannot comment specifically about your case as I have not personally evaluated you.  While a particular type of thyroplasty has been described as a way to deepen voice, it is not a commonly performed procedure - its greatest utility is in transgendered individuals, and I believe that there are some phonsurgeons in the United States that cater to this patient population.  The reason it is not more commonly performed is because in males with a voice so high as to be appropriate for the surgery, there is often another reason for the high voice which is amenable to less invasive correction - for instance, puberphonia can be treated with voice therapy, and a laryngeal web can be treated with endoscopic lysis.  If you have  not been evaluated by a laryngologist, then your first step would be to consider specialty voice evaluation in an academic voice center.
Best regards,
Lee Akst, M.D.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I have always been able to sing ever since I was a little girl. A couple of years ago I had a lot of problems with my throat. I kept getting the strep throat over and over again. Directly after that I could not sing. But its been about two years now and I can sing a little now, but it is not like I used to. I can not hit any high notes and if I try I go horse. I go horse if I sing one entire song. I do not know what is going on with my voice but I hope you can help me. PLEASE!

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...
In some cases, chronic irritation caused by an upper respiratory infection can result in compensatory hyperfunction of the muscles of the larynx. Symptoms of hyperfunction are most commonly effortful, strained voice, reduced pitch range, and in some cases, hoarseness. Treatment for this condition is voice therapy with a speech pathologist.

That being said, there are also many other possible explanations for your symptoms. The only way to know the reason for your voice difficulties is to be evaluated by an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician.

Good luck!

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Pathology Coordinator
Clinical Specialist, Head & Neck Cancer Rehabilitation
The M.J. Dance, Jr. Head & Neck Center at GBMC
Phone: (443) 849-8043