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.