You use your voice every day for myriad reasons, from communicating your needs to singing your favorite songs in the car. When those abilities are hindered by blockages or damage, it can be extremely disruptive. Vocal health is so important, which is why our team at ENT New York offers voice/throat evaluations to help keep your voice in tip top shape.
What happens during an evaluation?
When you come in for a voice/throat evaluation with Dr. Vandana Kumra, she discusses your symptoms and assesses the situation. She may want to take a look inside your throat using a tiny angled mirror, similar to what your dentist uses. If further evaluation is needed, Dr. Kumra performs a laryngoscopy — a minimally invasive procedure that employs a laryngoscope (a flexible scope) that contains a light and a camera.
She inserts the laryngoscope into your nose or mouth and down your throat so she can look for growths, inflammation, or other problems. You may be given a numbing agent prior to the procedure to make you more comfortable. Depending on what Dr. Kumra sees, you may be referred for other testing to determine the problem.
Common causes of vocal and throat problems
Many factors can lead to the development of vocal and/or throat problems, all varying in severity. Some common causes include:
- Abnormal growth of blood vessels
- Partial vocal cord paralysis
Treatment varies depending on the source of the problem. Lifestyle changes may be recommended if smoking or misuse of your voice have caused irritation or damage. You may be asked to quit smoking, adjust the volume and placement of your speaking, give your voice time to rest, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Prescription medications may be necessary if the cause of your vocal disorder stems from GERD, allergies, or hormones. If you’ve been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, this could be the cause of your vocal problems. In that case, hormone therapy is likely the solution.
In some instances, muscle spasms in your throat could be the culprit. Dr. Kumra may recommend injections of a botulinum toxin, or in some cases, fat or fillers. The goal of the injections is to stop the muscle spasms and help your vocal cords close better.
If there are growths, such as polyps, tumors, nodules, or cysts, surgery may be required to remove them. Depending on what kind of growth it is, there are different approaches for treatment, ranging from minimally invasive procedures to more intensive options.
Monitoring and maintaining your vocal health is important, especially if you speak for a living. If you notice changes in your voice or have problems swallowing, don’t wait. Come get a voice/throat evaluation from Dr. Kumra right away. Give our New York, New York, office a call or book an appointment online today.