Friday, December 28, 2012

Voice Loss After Intubation

I had surgery and was intubated during the surgery. After the tube was removed, my voice has been a whisper for 6 weeks. While I was in the hospital, an ENT used a camera to view my vocal cords and said they were not paralyzed but one was moving less than the other and that my voice would probably return in several weeks. When I try to force my voice my throat gets sore? Do you have any suggestions? Should I rest my voice and just wait? Is there anything the doctors can do if I try to go to an ENT?

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...
Intubation injuries to the larynx are not uncommon, and often present in the form of a vocal fold motion impairment such as you describe. Resting your voice will not help or hinder your recovery. A vocal fold paresis (weakness) can be treated in a temporary manner by injecting the affected side with a filler material, given that the physician that initially evaluated you reported anticipation of return of function. Voice therapy with a speech pathologist may also be helpful, particularly in regards to the soreness you describe when trying to "force" your voice. See an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician for re-assessment and treatment recommendations.

Good luck!

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