Vocal Problem Treatments
Treatment for these problems will vary by their size, the age of the patient, the length of time they’ve been present and the cause. If they've been caused by a medical problem such as gastroesophageal reflex, with stomach acid shooting up the esophagus and damaging the larynx, the underlying problem will be treated. If they've been caused by poor vocal technique, patients are often placed on a period of "voice rest" with no talking or singing at all. After a period of time, the lesions may gradually disappear. The patients are then retrained on how to best use their voices to avoid more problems in the future.
Less commonly, surgery is required. Performed using a slender lighted tube, the masses are gently removed; voice rest is usually required, and when the patient is allowed to start using the voice, it is after retraining to prevent the problem from happening again.
Other causes and treatments
There may be other causes for vocal problems, both in those who use their voices professionally, and in the rest of us, as well. While it’s less common for the rest of us to develop problems from overuse or misuse, it does happen sometimes. The more common reasons, though, might be smoking, allergies, exposure to smoke or chemicals in the air, medications or dehydration. The delicate tissues need to be moist to perform well, and failure to stay hydrated or drinking too much caffeine can have damaging effects.
You can use your voice like a sledge hammer or a delicate instrument, but it’s important to be aware that if you need that voice to do something it doesn’t naturally want to do, you need to use good sense, good vocal care and good technique to avoid problems. Don’t be afraid to see an otolaryngologist and speech therapist if your voice has been hoarse or just not right for more than three weeks. It’s usually something that can be easily corrected, but it’s always best to diagnose and treat any potentially serious problems early, and to help you prevent further problems, regardless of the cause.
Contact Jaime E. Moore, M.D.
VCU Health Systems - Stony Point
9109 Stony Point Drive, Suite 1200
Richmond, VA 23235
Phone: (804) 323-0830
Fax: (804) 327-8076
VCU Medical Center - Nelson Clinic
401 North 11th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 628-4368
Fax: (804) 828-8299