The ‘voice box’, or vocal cords are located in the larynx behind the thyroid cartilage or Adam’s apple. Our vocal cords have many important functions. Most people associate the vocal cords with the sound of a voice, speaking and singing. However, the vocal cords have other important functions as well. They help us swallow safely by closing and protecting the lungs when we eat. They also open between swallows to allow us to breathe.
It has been said that our voice is the mirror of our personality. We use our voice from the moment we wake up to the time we close our eyes at night. Losing our voice, or hoarseness from laryngitis or other disorders makes it difficult to communicate at work, at home, and in social situations. For professional singers or those who depend on their voice for work, a hoarse voice can be catastrophic.
At the ENT specialty group, we have a dedicated group of highly trained and experienced voice experts (laryngologists) who recognize the apprehension and worry that comes with a hoarse speaking voice or singing voice. We have the knowledge and skills to comprehensively investigate and treat singers and patients with a hoarse, or disordered voice. This starts with a specialized examination using a small camera or endoscope which allows us to see the vocal cords. In some cases, an ultrasound of the larynx done in the office may provide complementary information. Additional investigations for a hoarse voice may include blood tests, allergy tests, and swallowing studies or scans.
Our voice experts are all fellowship trained, having spent an additional year of study and research in renowned centers after graduation. Our laryngologists work at the McGill University Health Center and are involved in voice research. We are able to offer cutting-edge treatment modalities including biopsies, esophagoscopy, vocal injections and office-based laser treatments. Our voice team is recognized both nationally and internationally as leaders in the field of voice disorders or laryngology, treating both singers and patients with a voice disorder. Our voice experts have published and presented nationally and internationally on voice. Our voice team teaches students, medical/surgical residents, and fellows at academic centres.