Monday, September 17, 2012

Strange Voice Problems

Hi there. I've suffered from a strange voice problem since I was a child. I was made fun of because of it and now I'm extremely embarrassed and aware of it. I try to hide it from all of my friends and even my husband. However, now that I have children, I want to figure out what this is and hopefully do something about it. I hope I can explain it well enough to find some answers.

Sometimes while I'm speaking, my voice will suddenly sound very nasally and strained. It occurs randomly, but almost always happens when I become emotional (i.e. scolding my children, telling a funny story, having an argument, etc.). Sometimes it happens out of nowhere, like while I'm reading a book or having a normal conversation. The best way to describe the feeling is that it almost feels like I can feel a flap closing in my nasal passages and there isn't as much air coming through. When it happens, I stop talking or just pretend I'm yawning or fake like I'm distracted by something and stop talking til the feeling passes (usually a few seconds). I feel like when I scold my children they don't take me seriously when my voice changes because it sounds like I'm laughing/crying/getting emotional. I feel like it affects my daily life because I can't have animated conversations with friends and family without it happening. I feel like people think I "hum" and "hah" a lot because I fill in those few awkward seconds with "uh" and "ah" until the feeling passes and I can speak again.

Would an ENT be able to help with this or should I see an ENT who specializes in voice disorders? I can't make it happen on demand, so I'm thinking of recording myself and bringing it in so they can understand what I'm talking about. Any insight from you would be greatly appreciated as I'm having a hard time finding anything about it online.

Thank you for your time and input.

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...
What an unusual and frustrating problem! Unfortunately, it would impossible to venture a guess as to what might be the cause of your symptoms without an examination of your larynx. See an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician for  a thorough evaluation and treatment recommendations.

Good luck to you!

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