Friday, February 1, 2013

Hoarse Voice & Can't Sing

I lost my singing voice about 15 months ago. Not that I'm a professional, but I've always sang! My talking voice is very hoarse sounding and it gets worse by the end of the day. I'm a 3rd grade teacher, so not talking is not an option. I saw an ENT doctor in April 2012. She saw nodes on my vocal chords and guessed that it was due to acid reflux. She had me change my diet. I've had some other issues occur. Was diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica, so that took a top priority. I'm on Prednisone (10 mg/day) for that. I had a scope done last week - hoping for some answers to get my voice back. I do not have nodes on my vocal chords now. They did find a 3cm sliding hiatus hernia in my esphogus, but don't think that's causing the problem. Not sure what to do! I'm not a smoker, but do have a chronic dry cough. Is there an alternative method that might work? Tea, vitamins, exercise? Really want to sing again!

Joanna Lott, M.A., CCC-SLP replies...

When you say that you were scoped last week - do you mean by a GI doctor or a laryngologist? If it was a GI doctor, you should also follow up with your laryngologist. One suggestion is to use amplification in your classroom and find activities for the students to do that give you an opportunity to rest your voice. Also, try to think of alternative methods of quieting them down other than raising your voice. And if you haven't had voice therapy yet, you may benefit from that as well. There really isn't a tea or pill that can help with hoarseness. Some teas can be soothing to the throat, but they don't actually reduce swelling or inflammation. An SLP trained in voice therapy can teach you vocal exercises that may help. Speak to your laryngologist about that. If there isn't one in his office, he may know of someone in the area. I hope this is helpful! Best of luck.

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