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Science
CHECK UP
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PROGRAMME INFO
Thursday 15:00-15:30
Check Up is your chance to talk to doctors about the health issues that most concern you and your family. Each week Barbara Myers is joined by a medical expert to take your calls and emails on a particular topic and give you the most up to date advice. No appointment necessary.
Call 0870 010 0444
Contact Check Up
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 3 January
PRESENTER
BARBARA MYERS
Barbara Myers
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Thursday 3 January 2008
An opera singer in full song

Full programme transcript >>

The Voice
 
If your voice is hoarse after cheering the New Year in, this week’s Check Up could be the tonic you are looking for.

Whether your voice is rasping, strained or altered in pitch, Barbara Myers and Dr Ruth Epstein, a specialist in voice disorders at London’s Royal National Throat, Nose & Ear Hospital, will be taking your questions.

The voice is produced by vibrations of the vocal cords or folds, the two bands of muscle tissue in the larynx or voice box. At rest, the folds are open and when they close, air passes through them causing them to vibrate and make a sound.

Having a problem with your voice can be very inconvenient if it strikes when you’re about to go on stage or defend someone in court.

If you suffer from bouts of hoarseness, find out what you can do to prevent them.

Laryngitis, characterised by a raspy breathy voice, occurs when the vocal folds are swollen. It can arise when the voice is overused, and exposing the vocal folds to infection or irritants can also be a trigger.

Nodules on the vocal folds can cause hoarseness, most commonly among professional singers. A nodule forms on each vocal fold, in the area which is under most pressure when the folds come together to vibrate.

In rare cases, and particularly in smokers, hoarseness can indicate cancer of the larynx.

Spasmodic (or laryngeal) dysphonia is a distressing condition that causes the voice to break or have a strained or strangled quality. Sudden spasms cause the vocal folds to slam together and stiffen. There’s no cure, but botox injections into the vocal folds can help to stop the spasms and improve voice quality for a few months.

Many voice problems can be reversed by voice therapy, which helps the patient eliminate the voice behaviour that created the disorder in the first place, like proper breath support for speech and eliminate forceful voicing. Other treatments include medication and surgery.

Please contact the programme with your questions or comments on 08700-100-444 on the day of broadcast or e-mail using the Contact Check Up link above.

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