Vocal health is essential for not only singers but for every person. Speaking is extremely important for communication. It affects our interactions with all of those around us, virtually every face-to-face interaction as well as those by phone. The people who are most often affected are those who speak a lot, such as teachers, lecturers, and public figures – not just singers – as they often “push on” despite vocal strain.
Therefore, it is essential to have voice issues, including persistent voice fatigue along with hoarseness and discomfort, be checked promptly and thoroughly.
So, what does a voice doctor visit entail?
- Dr. Stackpole will ask questions about your lifestyle, voice use, voice needs, and what problems you feel are troubling your voice. Common questions include:
- Singing: Are you a professional? An amateur, devoted singer, such as a choir member?
- Public Speaking/Teaching: How much and how often do you speak? What size of room do you speak in? How does it impact your work and voice?
- Outdoor Speaking: Are you a sports coach or an exercise trainer? Do you lead noisy classes/groups, and shout in order to be heard?
- Business or Legal Professional: How do you use your voice in the office? In meetings? In court?
- After gathering all the pertinent information, Dr. Stackpole will then conduct a thorough ENT exam; this includes the ears, nasal region, and throat. Nasal and sinus issues can affect the voice – for example, sinusitis blocking sound transmission through the nose or vocal cord irritation from post-nasal drip. Hearing issues can cause voice strain as well, affecting the individual’s perception of their own voice.
- At this point, Dr. Stackpole needs to view your voice box (larynx) located inside the throat. This is done using video recording and stroboscopic lighting. The stroboscope issues very fast flashing light, allowing slow-motion visualization of vocal cord motion. This technique, videostroboscopy, coupled with the detailed and magnified exam, allows a very detailed examination of the vocal cords. Dr. Stackpole reviews all of the recordings at the visit and will explain what may be affecting you.
- The doctor makes a specific plan for each patient, to allow a rapid and healthy return to vocal function. She sees each patient for a follow-up after treatment to see their progress and work with them on optimizing their health and safety. She may incorporate treatment of related conditions, such as sinusitis, allergies, acid reflux, or vocal strain to keep voice production optimal and beautiful.
- For singers, Dr. Stackpole will discuss voice production and singing style in detail, keeping in mind schedule needs. She has worked extensively with many Broadway and opera singers over two decades of practice and coordinates with show stage managers, directors, and producers. She also has a close relationship with the Manhattan School of Music, where she has been a guest lecturer. She is a Juilliard-trainer singer and brings her knowledge of voice production into each situation.
We welcome you to make an appointment for a full vocal evaluation, for vocal concerns or simply monitoring your vocal wellness!