Hi, I am 24-year-old female singer and teacher currently teaching English abroad in Japan. I visited an ENT here and was diagnosed with vocal nodules. I have already had vocal nodules once, when I was 17, at which time I went on vocal rest for several weeks but underwent no voice therapy or rehabilitation. This time, my doctor provided me with the poor advice of "reduce your talking." That's it. So I'm not sure what to do. Because of my job here, I can only afford to take one week of complete vocal rest, accompanied by several weeks of reduced talking and no singing. However, since I'm in a rural part of Japan and my Japanese level is low, speech/voice therapy here isn't a viable option. I'm wondering if you think one week of vocal rest would be enough time, if coupled with vocal rehabilitation. I'm also wondering if you know any opportunities for participating in online speech/voice therapy, or if you can recommend any general techniques for me to follow once I begin talking again. Thank you so much.
Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...
It sounds as though you already know that prolonged vocal rest is not an effective treatment strategy for vocal fold nodules; however, short term vocal rest is often recommended to reduce any acute inflammatory changes associated with the nodules. Subsequent to that, voice therapy with a speech pathologist is the recommended treatment. Since you unfortunately do not have access to a voice therapist given your current situation, I would suggest general conservation of the voice when possible and that you practice excellent vocal hygiene for the duration of your assignment. I don't personally know of any voice center or program that offers web-based treatment, although that certainly doesn't mean if doesn't exist; please let us know if you discover such a program.
For detailed vocal hygiene tips, please see our web page at http://www.gbmc.org/home_voicecenter.cfm?id=1558.