Does your voice need a doctor? Check out this clinic in Mysuru

Located at the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), the Clinic for Persons with Voice Disorders offers specialised screening and analysis, and treatment for individuals with voice problems. World Voice Day is on April 16

April 12, 2024 09:00 am | Updated April 16, 2024 03:58 pm IST - Mysuru

The All India Institute of Speech and Hearing in Mysuru has been addressing communication disorders among people for more than five and half decades.

The All India Institute of Speech and Hearing in Mysuru has been addressing communication disorders among people for more than five and half decades. | Photo Credit: M A Sriram

The Mysuru-based All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), a premier institute of the Government of India in the field of speech and hearing, has on its campus a unique facility that provides remedies for those suffering from voice disorders, especially professional voice users like singers and teachers.

As voice health is key for individuals who use it as an occupational means, the facility plays an important role in addressing voice issues with technological interventions, offering specialised assessment and treatment for individuals with voice problems. The facility is equipped with the state-of-the-art device for interventions to visualise structures of vocal folds using a video stroboscope.

AIISH’s Clinic for Persons with Voice Disorders was founded to exclusively cater to voice problems. It has come as a blessing for many like singers, teachers for whom voice is life.

Awareness on voice health

Over the years, the clinic has spread awareness on voice health, and precautions for proper care of voice to overcome complications. On the occasion of World Voice Day which is observed on April 16 every year, the role played by the AIISH gets recognised with a team of experts carrying out consultations, interventions and analysis to bring succour to those with voice problems.

The theme of this year’s voice day is “Resonate, Educate and Celebrate.” It highlights the role played by voice health in our personal and professional lives.

Experts say professional voice users like teachers, singers and lawyers are prone to voice problems due to excessive use of voice. Thanks to the clinic, many teachers have recovered their voice quality after undergoing voice therapy. There have also been instances of voice problems coming back if precautions for voice health are not taken.

A large number of people visit AIISH in Mysuru to avail clinical services.

A large number of people visit AIISH in Mysuru to avail clinical services. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

Who is at risk

Those who use their voice for profession on a day-to-day basis are at a risk of developing voice problems frequently. Singers, lawyers, cheerleaders, hawkers/vendors are among the professional voice users. Excessive talking, throat clearing, coughing, inhaling irritants, smoking or yelling result in injury to vocal folds. Dust allergy, improper food habits, respiratory problems, paralysis or paresis of vocal cords, cancerous growth etc., are the other causes of voice problems, according to AIISH experts.

They are usually advised to avoid speaking loudly for hours together and going to bed immediately after lunch or dinner besides evading throat clearing, getting exposed to dust or chemicals besides speaking in the presence of loud music and noise, screaming and shouting and so on.

Dr. K. Yeshoda, Associate Professor in Speech Sciences and Chairperson, the Clinic for Persons with Voice Disorders, AIISH says voice therapy is a process practiced by speech-language pathologists or speech-language therapists. It is a procedure adopted to bring back normal voice or to improve existing abnormal voice. Voice therapy begins after a patient’s complaint of a voice problem is assessed and a diagnosis is made by qualified professionals. The majority of the voice problems do not improve only with medications and/surgeries, she added.

Dr. Yeshoda, who, on the occasion of voice day, had given a call for improving our voice to reflect our individual identity by consciously practising appropriate, efficient and hygienic methods of voice use. In a note, she says most voice problems occur due to unhealthy habits of excessive talking, and misuse of voice. Such habits are called vocal abuse behaviours/ habits. Common vocal abuse behaviours are shouting, screaming, talking continuously, lengthy phone conversations, talking for long hours, throat clearing, excessive crying, imitating sounds, imitation of others speaking styles.

What is voice therapy

Voice therapy is a systematic treatment procedure that uses exercises to modify the abnormal/maladaptive behaviors, behaviors due to excess use of voice and/ continuous use of voice for a prolonged period and/ compromised bodily processes (owing to surgical interventions) of the biological organs responsible to produce voice. These treatment procedures have to be practiced regularly and systematically by the patients with voice problems for change in existing voice problems, she explained.

Explains R. Rajasudhakar, Associate Professor, Department of Speech-Language Sciences and Member, Clinic for Persons with Voice Disorders, “Precautions are key for preserving voice health. Drinking plenty of water, taking adequate voice rest, speaking with normal or average loudness, drinking herbal tea, giving gap between two consecutive classes, giving minimum of one and half to two hours gap between meal/dinner time and bedtime are a few vocal hygiene tips that one can follow for the good voice health.”

Otolaryngologists, speech-language pathologists and phono surgeons need to work together and educate the public including patients with voice problems about the recent advances in the field of voice care through lectures, free voice screening etc, the expert said in a note he shared to the media sometime ago. If the voice, from the occupational point of view, is not adequately satisfying or not able to meet someone’s requirement in carrying out the daily job means, it is said to be a voice problem, he explains. If a singer complains of not being able to sing in a high note or ‘swaras’, then it is a voice problem, he informs.

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