The more you understand your body and how it functions, the better equipped you'll be at taking care of yourself to achieve optimal health.  On the left side of our Web site you'll find a tab called Learn More. Click there to find a wide variety of  valuable, practical wellness information.  We hope you can incorporate this informantion into your lifestyle to improve the quality of your life.  Turn to these pages whenever you have a question about ear, nose and throat health related issues.  We urge you to contact our practice at any time to make an appointment with one of our otolaryngology physicians or audiologists.

If you have questions about hearing or balance problems, or regarding hearing instruments such as hearing aids, assistive listening devices or hearing protection, please see the Bloomfield Hearing portion in our Web site.  Click the Bloomfield Hearing tab at the top of our Home page.  You will find a list of hearing and balance related topics there.  Our audiologists will be happy to answer your questions about communication, hearing and balance at your next audiology appointment.  Consultations with our audiologists are available free of charge to discuss your options for amplification and assistive listening technology.  You can also discuss coping strategies for living with hearing and balance disorders.

Click on Our Blog at the lower left side of the Web site to find new information about hearing, balance, communication, amplification, and other news related to ear, nose and throat health.  We will be updating the Blog every month, so please revisit our site to see what's new!

What Is Voice?

"Voice" is the sound made by vibration of the vocal cords caused by air passing out through the larynx bringing the cords closer together. Your voice is an extremely valuable resource and is the most commonly used form of communication. Our voice is invaluable for both our social interaction as well as for most people's occupation. Proper care and use of your voice improves the likelihood of having a healthy voice for your entire lifetime.

How Do I Know If I Have A Voice Problem?

Voice problems occur with a change in the voice, often described as hoarseness, roughness, or a raspy quality. People with voice problems often complain about or notice changes in pitch, loss of voice, loss of endurance, and sometimes a sharp or dull pain associated with voice use. Other voice problems may accompany a change in singing ability that is most notable in the upper singing range. A more serious problem is indicated by spitting up blood or when blood is present in the mucus. These require prompt attention by an otolaryngologist.

What Is The Most Common Cause Of A Change In Your Voice?

Voice changes sometimes follow an upper respiratory infection lasting up to two weeks. Typically the upper respiratory infection or cold causes swelling of the vocal cords and changes their vibration resulting in an abnormal voice. Reduced voice use (voice rest) typically improves the voice after an upper respiratory infection, cold, or bronchitis. If voice does not return to its normal characteristics and capabilities within two to four weeks after a cold, a medical evaluation by an ear, nose, and throat specialist is recommended. A throat examination after a change in the voice lasting longer than one month is especially important for smokers. (Note: A change in voice is one of the first and most important symptoms of throat cancer. Early detection significantly increases the effectiveness of treatment.)

Six Tips To Identify Voice Problems

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you have an unhealthy voice:

  • Has your voice become hoarse or raspy?
  • Does your throat often feel raw, achy, or strained?
  • Does talking require more effort?
  • Do you find yourself repeatedly clearing your throat?
  • Do people regularly ask you if you have a cold when in fact you do not?
  • Have you lost your ability to hit some high notes when singing?

A wide range of problems can lead to changes in your voice. Seek out a physician's care when voice problems persist.

Hoarseness or roughness in your voice is often caused by a medical problem. Contact an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon if you have any sustained changes to your voice.