Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vocal Cords

Hi I’m a female singer that has been struggling for over 7 years with pain in my throat; I’ve gone to more than 10 ENTs and tried every treatment possible, changed my diet. Had had several laryngoscopes and my vocal cords seem to be fine, with my throat just looking red and with erosion. I feel like I have wounds or cuts in my throat. My voice range has gotten smaller and smaller. It started getting so painful I can’t sing at all and even talking bothers me loosing my voice occasionally. I finally got an endoscopy done and found a hiatus hernia, I had surgery a month ago and are now recovering, but my throat is still in a lot of pain and I still can’t sing. I want to know if I’ll ever be able to sing and rehabilitate my vocal cords that are fibrous. What can I do to now recover my voice and be pain free? It’s been a long road and I can’t do what I love most. By not being able to sing my depression gets worse. Please my doctors have not told me what I can do to fix my voice.

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies... 

What exactly is your diagnosis? If you had surgery to repair a hiatal hernia, I would assume that your ENTs are suspecting acid reflux to be a contributing factor to your "fibrous" vocal cords and vocal difficulties. If that is the case, I might suspect some secondary muscle tension dysphonia. This is a condition in which the muscles of the larynx are being used inappropriately in a response to underlying swelling and inflammation, causing hoarseness, odynophonia (pain with voicing), etc. This is treated most successfully in voice therapy with a speech pathologist. If there are additional findings in relation to the fibrotic nature of the vocal cords, additional surgical options may exist. See a laryngologist (an ENT who specializes in voice disorders).  
Best of luck to you!

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