The human voice is sometimes compared to a reeded instrument in that certain tissues need to vibrate just right to produce the desired sounds.
However, there are other structures within the throat and neck area that can affect your voice. In many instances, it’s hoarseness or unexpected changes in vocal quality that inspire a search for the best voice doctor in Orange County.
Below are some of the common reasons why patients often seek input from a doctor specializing in voice-related problems.
A common cause of hoarseness and voice loss, laryngitis often responds well to self-care treatments like staying hydrated, temporarily reducing voice use, and resting. It’s when acute (suddenly developing) laryngitis turns into persistent or recurring laryngitis that a visit to the best voice doctor in Orange County may become necessary. You may also be referred to this type of specialist if it’s suspected that your laryngitis is related to a bacterial infection of the larynx. This is considered out of the ordinary because most infections of the larynx are viral.
Vocal Misuse or Overuse
The vocal cords can become severely irritated or strained enough to require medical attention for many different reasons. Singers sometimes experience this problem from consistent use of the same vocal or throat muscles. However, you may also have issues with strained or over overused vocal cords if you regularly project your voice, as may be the case if your job involves public speaking. Even constantly speaking on a phone or cellphone may irritate vocal cords. Vocal misuse or overuse can also contribute to:
- Irritated neck and laryngeal muscles
- Vocal fatigue
- An increased risk of developing benign (non-cancerous) vocal cord lesions
Vocal Cord Disorders
The best voice doctor in Orange County is also one capable of diagnosing and treating a wide range of vocal cord disorders. Such conditions may include vocal cord paralysis, which occurs when one or both vocal cords won’t open and close properly. Because of the many possible causes of certain vocal cord disorders, it can be helpful to visit a specialist who can perform tests to rule out or confirm neurological diseases, viral infections, contact ulcers, and other underlying health problems that may affect vocal cords.
Chronic hoarseness without a clear source is often reason enough to seek care from the best voice doctor in Orange County to determine if you may have laryngeal cancer, a type of throat cancer affecting the “voice box” or larynx. Diagnosis typically involves a visual examination of the throat and neck with a long-handled mirror and light or a special instrument with a camera attached (laryngoscope) and collection and examination of tissues (biopsy). A CT scan may be performed after a special dye is swallowed or injected into a vein to determine if other tissues are affected. Treatment options will depend on the stage of the disease and the nature of the tumor.
A visit to thebest voice doctor in Orange County doesn’t necessarily mean surgery will be the only option discussed. Unless an abnormal growth is detected, cancer has been confirmed, or vocal polyps or nodules are significantly affecting vocal quality or contributing to other problems, conservative (non-surgical) treatments are usually recommended first. A top-quality voice doctor can also recommend steps you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing additional voice issues in the future.