Diagnosing Vocal Problems
The Difficulty in Diagnosing Voice Problems
There are many people who rely on a consistent voice to make a living. Performers need to sound the same on stage, night after night; just as they do in the recording studio, take after take. Voice actors need to sound the same in every episode they record. Television stars have to sound the same from week to week. But the arts aren’t the only jobs that require a consistent voice. Lawyers need to be able to speak convincingly and at an audible volume day after day in court. Teachers need to be heard by their classes. Public speakers also rely on their voice, and the list goes on and on. So what happens when voice issues start to occur? Diagnosing the issue quickly can be very difficult.
The fact is that there are a large number of conditions that can cause voice changes, and not all of those underlying causes are physical. True, diseases, cysts, muscle tension, or nodules may be to blame. It is also possible, however, for the voice issues to be psychological. In fact, anxiety is a frequent cause of vocal changes. So what are the keys to diagnosis?
Often, the combination of an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) and a therapist will be used to make a faster diagnosis. The ear, nose, and throat doctor will look for physical damage and obstructions to the vocal chords using a stroboscopy, or other tests that measure the acoustics of the vocal chords. The therapist will probe for signs of a psychological cause of the vocal issues.
Individuals who suffer from voice problems generally need a personalized solution due to the sheer variety of potential causes of the problem. A combination of medications, surgery, or therapy may be the solution to your problem, and the key to getting your voice back to where your job needs it to be.