Voice problems

A person's voice is an important part of their identity and changes to the voice can be distressing. An altered voice can make communication hard, reduce quality of life and cause social and work problems.

Your voice is like a finely tuned wind instrument. The co-ordination and control required to produce a voice and to speak is really very sophisticated. You need good working lungs to generate a flow of air, the voice box needs to demonstrate fine control to create a sound and this sound needs to be modified by the muscles of the mouth and throat in order to create speech.

As you can imagine, in such a complicated system, minor things can sometimes go wrong and have major effects.

What is the cause? 

There are many reasons a person can have voice problems and such problems can occur at any level of the vocal system. Simple things such as vocal overuse and “reflux” can alter voice while more serious issues such as cancer of the voice box can initially become apparent due to a change in voice. Diseases of the lung can affect the ability to speak and especially sing, while changes in the head and neck may alter the sound of the voice.

How can we work out what the problem is? 

The key to determining the cause of a voice problem is a thorough discussion with your doctor and a comprehensive physical examination. Dr Morrissey will often be able to directly look at the vocal cords via a fine nasal camera in order to identify the problems and hopefully ‘rule out’ some serious issues.

In some cases, there may be a need to undergo special scans and other tests to determine the cause. A Speech Therapist may also become involved, as they possess unique skills in the assessment and management of vocal problems.

What are the solutions? 

The particular remedy depends of course on the problem. It can involve medications, surgery and/or the advice of a Speech Therapist.

Dr Morrissey can help to advise you as to the best course of action needed to remedy your particular voice problem.