Our voice is an essential body function allowing us to communicate with other humans. Many patients need to use their voice often with projection to perform their work. These include, Teachers, Lawyers, Lecturers and those working in noisy environments. Many conditions can affect the larynx ranging from upper respiratory viral illnesses resulting in laryngitis, through to growths of the vocal cords. The latter are mainly benign in nature but in rare instances can be malignant especially if the patient has a history of smoking.
Conditions such as chronic sinusitis with post nasal drip or acid reflux due to a hiatus hernia can also result in inflammation of the larynx giving rise to a hoarse voice. Mr Patel works in clinics which have the latest fibre optic technology to enable visualisation of the larynx in the outpatient setting. Together with taking a detailed history this clinical examination can be done at the same time as the consultation thus providing a one stop option to diagnose the causation of hoarseness. Once the cause has been determined the treatment options can be discussed. This may include medical therapy with voice rest, speech therapy or in some cases examination of the larynx under a general anaesthetic using laser technology to remove the lesion of the vocal cords.
Any growths of the larynx should be removed in order to exclude the possibility of malignancy. In patients with a very subtle voice problem it may be necessary to examine the larynx using videostroboscopy which allows visualisation of the vocal cords during speech in slow motion.
Sam Bowman is a Speech Therapist who has recently joined Mr Patel’s practice she has vast experience in the management of hoarseness and is able to see patients at a number of locations.