Singers on tour or in a show, men and women of the cloak, radio and TV announcers, inspirational speakers and other professional voice users can get sick and run down, and be subject to seasonal allergies just like the rest of us common folk. But, the pressure to perform can be daunting and relying on hearsay and anecdotal tales of success with quick fixes can not only cloud good judgement but may lead to temporary or even permanent vocal damage.
If your voice has lost power or range, or you have significant vocal fatigue, nasal congestionor post-nasal drip, you likely have or are at risk for having vocal injury. It is important to see a laryngologist (ENT specializing in care of the professional voice) like Dr. Yagoda for preventive care, proper diagnosis and integrative treatment combining natural, alternative and traditional techniques. Your laryngologist should also coordinate your care with your vocal coach, singing teacher, speech pathologist, naturopath, acupuncturist, therapist, herbalist, and/or chiropractor to safely rehabilitate your voice while minimizing the risk of future injury.
Those who cannot speak are being given new hope. Six percent of the US population has a voice disorder that, unfortunately, often leads to the inability to speak. Usually arising from vocal cord damage, Harvard and MIT researchers have been tirelessly working on a solution to this vocal cord problem.
Thanks to modern gel technology, they might have found one! A new synthetic gel material can be injected into scarred or damaged vocal cords to help restore their function. By looking at the vocal cords from almost a mechanical standpoint, scientists developed a fix for the scar tissue — rather than a new way to remove it.
The flexible gel material can adapt to a wide range of human vocal cords and helps restore the cords’ ability to vibrate, thus loosening up the stiffened, scarred vocal cords enough to (hopefully) restore voice. Although, if approved, this material would need to be re-injected every six months or so – as it does break down over time – it is a very promising solution to a problem that has long been “silenced.”
Dr. Michelle Yagoda is not only an expert ENT and facial plastic surgeon, but she is a voice specialist as well. If you find you are having problems with your voice, make sure to see the proper doctor: Voice issues have many causes, and their treatments depend on the proper diagnoses.
She’s been called the next Mariah Carey or the next Whitney Houston because of her eight octave vocal range. If you haven’t heard Ariana Grande’s amazing voice then you will have to wait because the hot new pop star has just been silenced. That’s right! After a loud, late night party, Ariana awoke with hoarseness. A visit to the voice doctor showed a vocal hemorrhage. What exactly is a vocal hemorrhage? How did she get it? How is it treated? And, most importantly, will we be able to hear her sing again?
Vocal hemorrhages occur from vocal cord trauma. A forceful impact can cause blood vessels within the layers of the vocal cords to bleed and cause a bruise similar to the type that happens under your nail when you slam your finger in the door. Hemorrhages can occur during prolonged voice use; yelling, screaming and forced voice use; or, even during routine use when there is inflammation or infection associated with laryngitis. Ariana tweeted “For those of u asking about my voice I screamed too much at my party totally irresponsible…”
Vocal cord hemorrhages, like Ariana’s and Adele’s and are not uncommon. In an interview on Inside Edition, Dr. Yagoda said, “Just like athletes, singers are at risk of injury from high levels of performance and even overexertion.” Generally not painful, vocal hemorrhages are typically associated with painless hoarseness of the speaking and/or singing voice. A visit to an otolaryngologist (ears, nose and throat doctor) specializing in care of the professional voice is in order. Proper diagnosis is made by endoscopy (a special lighted and magnified examination of the vocal cords during phonation). The use of steroids (often given for other causes of hoarseness) must be avoided as they can both cause the bleeding to increase, and they can mask other symptoms. Treatment of a vocal cord hemorrhage entails complete voice rest for up to two weeks, with interval endoscopic exams used to monitor the hemorrhage until it is gone.
By following the doctor’s prescription for complete voice rest, Ariana will likely have a long, monumental career. Failure to heed that advice can result in a premature and devastating end of her budding career.
Had enough bad weather? Want to finally hear that “the sun will come out…tomorrow”?
Hear it first-hand from our friend, Lilla Crawford, as she stars in the Broadway revival of Annie. Ben Brantley of the New York Times called Ms. Crawford “pretty close to perfect in this title role.” If you or someone you know is a professional voice user, count on Dr. Yagoda to keep your voicehealthy and strong!
After receiving her second double lung transplant and worrying her voice would never be the same, opera singer Charity Tillemann-Dick is able to sing again! Charity delivered an outstanding performance with her new set of lungs at the Indianapolis opera house. Check out this incredible story on this CBS News video.
New York’s own, Anne Hathaway is doubly blessed! Not only is she a natural beauty, but she also has an amazing voice. Check out this YouTube clip of her singinga parody of “On my Own” from Les Miserables at the Oscars.
Are you an aspiring singer? Being in New York City only minutes from Broadway and 42 street can bring out the best singer in all of us. If it is your dream to be the next Adele, Tori Amos, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Chita Rivera, or even Ethel Merman you should see a vocal specialist. Voice care is just as important as healthcare.
Dr. Yagoda can ensure propervocal functionfor that perfect sound, every time.