Vocal Health

Key Facts

  1. Voice Disorders are common. Almost everyone experiences at least temporary hoarseness from time to time.

  2. Good vocal quality and endurance are extremely important for personal and professional communication

  3. Some changes in voice quality or endurance indicate the presence of serious disease. Consequently, all voice disorders warrant thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis.

  4. Most voice problems are correctable.

  5. Voice disorders may lead to permanent voice impairment. Accurate diagnosis and treatment often avoids long-term problems.

  6. The state-of-the-art and medical standard of voice care have improved dramatically beginning in the late 1970s and 1980s.

The human voice is remarkable, complex and delicate. It is capable of conveying not only sophisticated intellectual concepts, but also subtle emotional nuances.
— Robert T. Sataloff, M.D., D.M.A., F.A.C.S in "Vocal Health"

What is the voice, and how does it work?

The wonderful sound we call voice results from interaction among numerous parts of the body. The larynx (voice box) is essential to normal voice production, but voice production is not limited to the larynx. The total vocal mechanism includes the abdominal and back musculature, rib cage, lungs, and the pharynx (throat), oral cavity and nose. Each component performs an important function in voice production, although it is possible to produce voice even without a larynx, for example in patients who have undergone laryngectomy (removal of the larynx) for cancer. In addition, virtually all parts of the body play some role in voice production and may be responsible for voice dysfunction. Even something as remote as a sprained ankle may alter posture, thereby impairing abdominal muscle function and resulting in vocal inefficiency, weakness and hoarseness.

Although the uniqueness and beauty of the human voice have been appreciated for centuries, medical scientists have begun to really understand the workings and care of the voice only since the late 1970s and the early 1980s.
— Robert T. Sataloff, M.D., D.M.A., F.A.C.S in "Vocal Health"