Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Voice Issues

Hi. I'm a 33 year old male and have been singing for most of my life. I had not had any real issues with my voice until about 3 or 4 years ago. I had a voice screening done at GBMC, which came back normal. I've been having some issues with changes in my voice.  My problem is this: I get hoarse (husky voice) easily now and experience vocal irritation and fatigue only after minutes of singing (and sometimes speaking...approx 20-30 min). At times it feels like there's a lump and/or tightness in my throat. My singing voice has become practically unreliable. I don't have the same flexibility and ease of range. I had ENT look at my vocal cords and again was told there were no nodules or lesions. At times the irritation has almost a burning sensation. I've considered that it could be LPR (Reflux). Can reflux cause this type of problem I'm describing? This is very important to me because singing has been a joy and passion of mine. I've not been able to participate in functions and events because of this. What further tests would I need to find out what's going on? Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated.

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies... 

Acid reflux into the larynx and throat is often referred to as "laryngopharyngeal reflux," or LPR. Symptoms of acid reflux into the larynx may include laryngitis, hoarseness, sensation of a lump in the throat, post-nasal drip, chronic throat clearing, excessive throat mucous, sore throat, cough, laryngospasm (spasm of the throat), and/ or throat pain. Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) physicians may diagnose LPR following a laryngeal examination via rigid or nasal endoscopy; more definitive testing for acid reflux includes pH testing that may be done by an ENT or a gastroenterologist (GI doctor). A GI doctor may also recommend endoscopy or x-ray studies to diagnose acid reflux.
Good luck!

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