A person’s voice serves as their vocal signature. In many social situations, it defines our interactions with the people
around us. When our voice fails to work for us, it can result in unintended social isolation and poor performance. Studies
have shown that up to 30% of Americans suffer from a voice problem at some point in their lives. Up to 28 million
Americans are affected daily in their work activities. It is for this reason that voice problems should not be ignored,
especially those that persist for periods greater than 2 weeks.
The treatment of hoarseness depends on the cause. Most hoarseness can be treated by simply resting the voice or modifying how it is used. An otolaryngologist may make some recommendations about voice use behavior, refer the patient to other voice team members, and in some instances recommend surgery if a lesion, such as a polyp, is identified. Avoidance of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke (passive smoking) is recommended to all patients. Drinking fluids and possibly using medications to thin the mucus are also helpful.
Specialists in speech/language pathology (voice therapists) are trained to assist patients in behavior modification that may help eliminate some voice disorders. Patients who have developed bad habits, such as smoking or overuse of their voice by yelling and screaming, benefit most from this conservative approach. The speech/language pathologist may teach patients to alter their method of speech production to improve the sound of the voice and to resolve problems, such as vocal nodules. When a patients’ problem is specifically related to singing, a singing teacher may help improve the patients’ singing techniques.
Forty-five percent of normal adults snore at least occasionally, and 25% are habitual snorers. l snorers. Problematic snoring is more frequent in males and overweight persons, and it usually worsens with age. Snoring is an indication of obstructed breathing. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly. An otolaryngologist can help you to determine the source and offer solutions for this noisy and often embarrassing behavior.
Tonsils and Adenoids
Tonsils and adenoids are a very important part of the body’s first line of defense—our immune system. They “sample” bacteria and viruses that enter the body through the mouth or nose at the risk of their own infection. But at times, they become more of a liability than an asset and may even trigger airway obstruction or repeated bacterial infections. Your ear, nose, and throat specialist can suggest the best treatment options.