Dr. Marshall Smith, M.D., is a Head and Neck Surgeon with the University of Utah Health Care Voice Disorders Center where they are offering free screenings for voice disorders.
• Anyone can experience voice problems severe enough to compromise employment or everyday activities, but vocal health is especially crucial for professional voice users.
• Any profession that requires three or more hours of speaking or singing per day is considered to be vocally demanding. This includes teachers, attorneys, receptionists and salespeople, along with singers, broadcast personalities and actors. Voice disorders are fairly common and often go untreated.
• Approximately 6 percent of the general population has a current voice disorder with women being more at risk. 45 percent of women will have a voice disorder in their lifetime versus 37 percent of men.
• Symptoms include hoarseness, effortful talking, persistent pain or sore throat with voice use, reduced volume, chronic cough or throat clearing, and reduced vocal endurance. Adults and children can experience symptoms.
• Any sudden or severe voice changes should be evaluated immediately. Gradual onset of hoarseness, vocal fatigue, or other symptoms of laryngitis that persist for longer than three weeks should be evaluated as well.
• University of Utah Health Care’s Voice Disorders Center offers specialized speech therapy and a treatment option that isn’t available anywhere else in the Intermountain region. Visit healthcare.utah.edu for more information.
Tips to Keep Your Voice Healthy
• Do not smoke.
• Drink plenty of water.
• Use a microphone if you are talking frequently or to large groups.
• Warm up your voice before you use it.
• Use good breath techniques.
• Try not to scream or yell.
The Voice Disorders Center will offer free voice screenings on Monday, April 19, in honor of World Voice Day. If you are concerned about any of the symptoms mentioned, schedule your appointment by calling 801-587-3549. There are limited slots available so preregistration is required.