Throat & Voice

Video Stroboscopy

We use our voice every day in communication. As children we are taught language, but never how to use our voice box (larynx); we just talk. Sometimes vocal misuse, infections, benign growths or even cancer of the larynx can cause a significant change in our voice. Being hoarse can significantly affect our communication with others and our quality of life. Let’s take a look at how our body actually produces the sound that will become our talking and singing.

There are three main components to speech. 1. The power source- our lungs; 2. The vibrator- our voice box; and 3. The resonator - our throat, mouth, nose and sinuses.

When we inhale, our diaphragm lowers and our lungs inflate. On exhalation, the air is forced through our windpipe (trachea) and exits through our voice box (larynx). The more forceful the exhale, the stronger the airflow and the louder the sound. Good breath support in a vital part of a strong voice.

Next, the column of air passes through our vocal cords. Our vocal cords open when we breathe and close when we speak, sing or eat. These cords are two soft folds that vibrate as the air passes through them. The vocal cords can vibrate from 100-1000 times per second! The higher the pitch the faster the vibration.

Finally, the air and sound produced from the vocal cords exit through our resonators. The shape of our throat, mouth, nose, and sinuses can affect the quality of the sounds. The resonators shape the sound into our own personal speaking and singing voices.

The vocal cords move so quickly that the human eye is unable to fully visualize the movement (mucosal wave) of the vocal cords, not unlike trying to see the wings of a humming bird! LCENT has the most up-to date diagnostic equipment in diagnosing voice box abnormalities. Videolaryngoscopy with stroboscopy is a specialized, state-of-the art piece of equipment necessary for evaluation of voice and vocal cord abnormalities. This is an in-office procedure performed under topical anesthesia. A synchronized, flashing light (strobe) is passed through a flexible camera that is placed through the nose. The flashes of light from the stroboscope are synchronized to the vocal fold vibration at a slightly slower speed. This allows your physician to observe vocal fold vibration during sound production in what appears to be slow motion. Slowing down the vibration of the vocal cords allows your physician to see any abnormalities of the structure of function of your voice box.

See the difference between a normal voice and one who is hoarse

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