On April 16, World Voice Day, Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr. Zeynep Alkan talked about the symptoms and treatment methods of voice problems, giving information about vocal health, hygiene and aesthetics. Prof. Dr Zeynep Alkan said, “Diseases such as cold, flu, reflux, allergies, and sound problems caused by misuse are temporary and can be treated. The main problem is to attribute aphonia to other causes and delay the diagnosis of the disease that can be serious. Therefore, a physician should be consulted in case of aphonia that lasts more than 15 days”.

Speaking about the importance of sound health on the World Voice Day, which is celebrated by ENT specialists, head and neck surgeons and other voice healthcare professionals all over the world on April 16 every year, Otorhinolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr Zeynep Alkan made remarkable statements about sound health, vocal hygiene and vocal aesthetics. She explained temporary and permanent voice problems as well as their symptoms and treatment methods.

Stating that a person’s voice is the greatest gem in communication, Yeditepe University Koşuyolu Hospital Otorhinolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr Zeynep Alkan continued his words as follows: “Our voice is very important in persuading the other person in expressing ourselves and our feelings. When our voice is bad, our self-confidence decreases and we become withdrawn. Also, our voice is extremely important, from our communication with our children at home to our career life. Therefore, the most important jewel of a person is his voice. "


It May Cause Permanent Problems

Noting that a person may encounter some problems related to voice throughout his life, Prof. Dr. Zeynep Alkan explained the factors that may cause this situation as follows: “The most important of these is respiratory tract infections. Due to the vocal cord inflammation, which we call laryngitis, during diseases such as cold and flu, the voice becomes deeper. When the edema and infection in the upper respiratory tract pass, voice problems disappear on their own. However, sometimes there can be permanent voice problems that we cannot treat. The most important of these are the problems related to the improper use of the sound. In addition, problems related to the larynx such as nodules, polyps commonly known as vocal cord flesh, congenital slits on the vocal cord called sulcus or vocal cord paralysis can also cause vocal problems. In fact, not only problems with the larynx, thyroid gland surgeries, masses in the thyroid gland, problems in the brain or neck can also impair the quality of the voice by affecting the nerve that goes to the vocal cord ”.

Stating that lung diseases are also among the factors that cause voice problems, Prof. Dr. Zeynep Alkan continued his words as follows: “Lung diseases can also be among the factors that cause voice problems. Those with chronic lung disease such as asthma may also sound bad. Because the voice doesn't just come out of the throat. The main source of power in the formation of sound is the lungs. That's why we always say 'take abdominal breath using your diaphragm'.


Watch Out for Crackling and Hoarseness in Your Voice

Providing information about the symptoms of voice disorder, Prof. Dr. Alkan says, “The patients come with the complaints of 'there is a crackling, deepness and hoarseness in my voice'. People around him can usually notice this situation. In this case, a sound examination is performed with the help of devices that we call stroposcopes, which show fluctuation, or equipment that measures the frequency and intensity of the sound we call sound analysis. Thus, it becomes clear what are the problems that make the former comfortable voice of the patient uncomfortable. Even though his vocal cords are normal, his voice might sound bad due to the wrong use of the person's voice. At this point, we learn the behavior of the sound and follow a path accordingly. Sometimes a voice therapist can be involved in the treatment process”.

Drink Plenty of Water for Voice Hygiene

Drawing attention to the importance of providing voice hygiene, Prof. Dr. Alkan said, “Sound hygiene can be achieved by using sound in a clean fashion, eating foods that are good for voice, and avoiding chemical irritants that are harmful to sound, such as smoking being the most well-known among them. Likewise, environmental pollution and trying to use sound in unsuitable working environments are among the negative factors. The main issue is the correct use of water. Liquids that contain water, such as tea, coffee, fruit juice, do not replace water in any way. However, it should not be forgotten that the foods that may cause problems in the stomach will also affect the voice health".


It is Possible to Maintain Voice Aesthetics

“Just as the dress fits on a person's body, the sound must match the gender, profession and age of the person. In case of a discrepancy, sometimes we conduct surgeries that make the voice deeper or giving it a higher pitch, which we call vocal aesthetics”, says Yeditepe University Koşuyolu Hospital ENT Specialist Prof. Dr. Zeynep Alkan, giving the following information about voice aesthetic surgeries:

“The vocal cords are operated without any external incision, through the mouth, using cold surgery methods or various hot instruments that we call laser. Another method is to reach the larynx where the vocal cord sits with a longitudinal incision from the outside, not the inside. Here, by releasing the cartilage to which the vocal cord is attached, the length of the vocal cord is shortened or lengthened."

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