The appropriately prescribed treatment can only be determined through a correct diagnosis of each individual’s voice problem. Armed with that understanding, treatment can usually be successful.
Medical treatment includes care for the factors above as indicated. Nasal and sinus disease is treated as needed. Medical and dietary treatment of reflux is recommended. Help with environmental issues can be planned.
Voice and/or speech therapy may be recommended. Vocal abuse can be a primary or secondary factor in vocal changes and may need to be addressed. Our outstanding speech therapists may help in the diagnosis and treatment of vocal disorders.
We also work closely with professionals’ voices coaches and can recommend some of the nation’s leading coaches if needed. When working with a speech therapist or vocal coach it is essential to find one who understands your goals and can help you maximize your potential without sacrificing your particular vocal style.
We find it necessary and an important part of our role to be the patient’s advocate. At times vocal rest may be an important component of treatment. When needed, we will be closely involved with the workplace or a producer to explain what is necessary for the patient’s health.
We find that surgery is rarely indicated for most benign voice problems, and can in fact be quite disadvantageous. Where necessary, surgery for benign disease is done using the techniques of “phonosurgery,” which avoids violating the vibrating free edge of the vocal cord and limits the potential vocal cord scarring that can occur from surgery.
There are specific times, however, when surgery is needed:
Surgery may be recommended for laryngeal cancers; a biopsy may be recommended if a growth is identified in the larynx. The doctors at the New York Otolaryngology Group are dedicated to voice-saving techniques in the treatment of laryngeal cancers. Our internal Head & Neck Surgery team is extensively trained and highly experienced in the latest techniques, which may involve a multi-disciplinary approach.
Vocal Cord Paralysis
Hoarseness may be caused by a loss of mobility in one or both of the vocal cords. The affected vocal cord may be augmented by thyroplasty (surgery on the framework of the larynx) or vocal fold injection to obtain a near normal voice.
Surgery to Alter Vocal Pitch
Surgery on the framework of the larynx can be used to tighten or loosen the tension of the vocal cords, thereby raising or lowering the voice’s natural pitch. This is offered successfully to patients whose voices are either “too low” or “too high.”