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Voice vocal cord problems

For months, singer Eishita Chaturvedi, 27, ignored the hoarseness that crept into in her voice when she sang for long hours. Finally, when at a music recording the Hindustani Classical artiste was unable to sing, she realised that something was amiss. Sonal Shukla reports.

mumbai Updated: Apr 16, 2011 01:39 IST
Sonal Shukla

For months, singer Eishita Chaturvedi, 27, ignored the hoarseness that crept into in her voice when she sang for long hours. Finally, when at a music recording the Hindustani Classical artiste was unable to sing, she realised that something was amiss.

A visit to the doctor revealed that she had suffered a haemorrhage in her vocal cords due to excessive strain.

“I couldn’t sing for almost five months after that,” said the singer, vocalist and voice-over artist. Chaturvedi underwent stroboscopy, a diagnostic test for detection of nodules, polyps, cysts (small masses of tissues), in the vocal folds.

Vocal folds are the two white folds at the mouth of the trachea through which air reaches the lungs. They assist in producing voice.

“Doctors told me that nodules had developed in my vocal folds due to muscular tension, as a result of overuse of my voice. I could have lost my voice,” said the Parel resident.

With the mushrooming of singing reality shows on television and the popularity of professions in call centres and video jockeying, city doctors are treating many professionals who bank on their voice for voice-related ailments.

“More and more singers and actors are entering music shows and soap operas without adequate voice training. They end up straining their vocal cords,” said Dr Gauri Mankekar, ear-nose-throat surgeon at Hinduja Hospital.

In the last two years, Bombay Hospital voice surgeon Dr Nupur Nerurkar has observed a 15% increase in the number of professional singers complaining of vocal fold nodules, polyps and cysts. “It is important not to cause permanent damage to the vocal folds. This requires quick diagnosis and prompt management,” said Dr Nerurkar.

Better tools to diagnose vocal fold ailments, surgical methods to correct them and speech therapy can help prevent long-term damage, said doctors.

“When nodules and polyps are diagnosed early, speech therapy may be able to restore the vocal folds to near normal,” said Dr Nerurkar.

Since October, Chaturvedi is diligently attending speech therapy sessions. Her therapy includes correction of speech, analysing the pitch of her voice, breathing techniques and giving rest to the vocal cords. “My voice is getting better day by day,” said Chaturvedi, who has begun singing again.