Recognizing when your student needs a Medical Professional

Weekly Teaching Tip – Sep. 16, 2013

Changes in the voice mean something…..but what??
Don’t guess

  • Misdiagnosis of voice problems is common.
  • Patients/students may be sent to us with the  wrong diagnosis
  • Patients /Students may be  sent to us from other singing teachers with the wrong idea of what is causing the problem

Misdiagnoses include:

    •  Nodules- may really be an early vocal fold cancer
    • Nodules –may be a granuloma
    • Nodules –may be a  congenital cyst (usually requires surgery)
    • Hoarseness- may be  nodules or cyst or polyp
    • Loss of range may be lack of technique OR nodules, hemorrhage, paralysis, bowing
    • Reflux- may be  granuloma, paralysis, granuloma, candida
    • Vocal Fatigue-may be early atrophy or vocal fold  bowing
    • Pitch breaks may be technique OR lesion, paralysis, reflux, laryngitis, allergies

What will the singing teachers hear in Common Voice Problems

  • Nodules  and Polyps

v Speech – rough, hoarse, pressed or tight, can do well if loud, may be breathy

v Singing – pitch breaks, loss of middle range, can’t sing softly

  • Muscle Tension Dysphonia

v Speech –varies from no voice to hoarse,  low pitch, rough

v      Singing – loss of range, pitch breaks, vocal fatigue

  • Hemorrhages

v Speech – squeaky voice, loss of control,  pain

v Singing – pain, immediate change in singing ability

  • Reflux

v Speech – hoarseness, low gravelly voice

v Singing- loss of range

  • Edema or swelling

v Speech – roughness/hoarseness,  gravelly

v Singing – change in pitch range

            Weakness or lack of good vocal fold contact

  • Bowing

v Speech= breathiness, soft voice

v Singing = breathy, weak, can’t sustain tones

  • Vocal fold paralysis

v Speech= breathiness, soft volume or two tones

v Singing = dipliphonia (double tone) weak voice

Make sure you send your patients/students to a qualified  Voice Care Team

Anna Siciliano, MA CCC/SLP            801-574-0855

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