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ENT Surgical Associates Michigan

(248)-541-0100

Throat & Voice

Our offices provide a complete evaluation of voice and swallowing problems, including an in-office, non-invasive examination of these areas using state-of-the-art microscopic technology, long term (greater than 2 weeks) can be a sign of serious problems.

throat-voice

Heartburn/Reflux disease

If you or someone you know suffers from hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, frequent throat clearing, or something a sensation that something is “stuck" in the throat that have been unresponsive to treatment, you may suffer from undiagnosed LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux).

LPR has traditionally been difficult to diagnose for two reasons. First, most patients experiencing LPR don't experience symptoms of "heartburn", and second, the symptoms produced by LPR can also be produced by common illnesses of the head and neck, such as, colds and flus, sinus and allergy inflammation.

The physicians of E.N.T Surgical Associates have been performing 24-hour pharyngeal pH probe testing (described in video below) in our office for over 3-years with very successful results. The primary advantage of this test, is that is allows doctors to quickly and accurately make the correct diagnosis, avoiding several weeks of trial & error courses of medications.

If you or someone you know is suffering from persistent symptoms of the nose or throat, an evaluation by one of the specialists of E.N.T. Surgical Associates may be warranted. Sore throat, laryngitis, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing all are symptoms of potential serious problems (tumors, cancers). If any of these symptoms last more than 2 weeks, a complete ear, nose and throat examination is needed

Sore throat

Infections from viruses or bacteria are the main cause of sore throats and can make it difficult to talk and breathe. Allergies and sinus infections can also contribute to a sore throat. If you have a sore throat that lasts for more than five to seven days, you should see your doctor. While increasing your liquid intake, gargling with warm salt water, or taking over-the-counter pain relievers may help, if appropriate, your doctor may write you a prescription for an antibiotic.

Laryngitis

Laryngitis means inflammation of the larynx or “voice box”. Acute laryngitis is the most common cause of hoarseness and voice loss that starts suddenly. The most common cause is acute laryngitis—swelling of the vocal folds that occurs during a common cold, upper respiratory tract viral infection, or from voice strain. When the vocal cords swell, they vibrate differently, leading to hoarseness. The best treatment for this condition is to stay well hydrated and to rest or reduce your voice use. Serious injury to the vocal cords can result from strenuous voice use during an episode of acute laryngitis.

Hoarseness

Abnormal changes in the voice are called “hoarseness.” When hoarse, the voice may sound breathy, raspy, strained, or show changes in volume or pitch. Voice changes are related to disorders in the sound-producing parts (vocal folds) of the voice box (larynx). While breathing, the vocal folds remain apart. When speaking or singing, they come together and, as air leaves the lungs, they vibrate, producing sound. Swelling or lumps on the vocal folds hinder vibration, altering voice quality, volume, and pitch.

When should I see an otolaryngologist?

  • If hoarseness lasts longer than three weeks, especially if you smoke
  • If you do not have a cold or flu
  • If you are coughing up blood
  • If you have difficulty swallowing
  • If you feel a lump in the neck
  • If you observe loss or severe changes in voice lasting longer than a few days
  • If you experience pain when speaking or swallowing
  • If difficulty breathing accompanies your voice change
  • If your hoarseness interferes with your livelihood
  • If you are a vocal performer and unable to perform

If you become hoarse frequently or notice voice change for an extended period of time, please make an appointment to see one of the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists at E.N.T. Surgical Associates for an evaluation.

Difficulty swallowing

Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) is common among all age groups, especially the elderly. The term dysphagia refers to the feeling of difficulty passing food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach. This may be caused by many factors, most of which are temporary and not threatening. Difficulties in swallowing rarely represent a more serious disease, such as a tumor or a progressive neurological disorder. When the difficulty does not clear up by itself in a short period of time, you should see one of the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists at E.N.T. Surgical Associates for an evaluation.

Tonsils and Adenoids

Tonsils and adenoids are composed of tissue that is similar to the lymph nodes or “glands” found in the neck, groin, and armpits. The adenoids are high in the throat, in the back of the nose and behind the soft palate (roof of the mouth) and, unlike tonsils, are not visible through the mouth without special instruments. The tonsils are the two masses of tissue on either side of the back of the throat.

The most common problems affecting the tonsils and adenoids in children are recurrent infections (causing sore throats) and significant enlargement (causing trouble with breathing and swallowing).

Post Nasal Drip

Glands in your nose and throat continually produce mucus (one to two quarts a day). Mucus moistens and cleans the nasal membranes, humidifies air, traps and clears inhaled foreign matter, and fights infection. Although it is normally swallowed unconsciously, the feeling of it accumulating in the throat or dripping from the back of your nose is called post-nasal drip. This sensation can be caused by excessively thick secretions or by throat muscle and swallowing disorders.

Increased thick secretions in the winter often result from dryness in heated buildings and homes. They can also result from sinus infections and allergies. If thin secretions become thick, and turn green or yellow, it is likely that a bacterial sinus infection is developing. In children, thick secretions from one side of the nose can mean that something is stuck in the nose such as a bean, wadded paper, or piece of toy. If these symptoms are observed, seek a physician for examination.

How is swallowing affected?

Swallowing problems may result in accumulation of solids or liquids in the throat that may complicate or feel like post-nasal drip. When the nerves and muscles in the mouth, throat, and food passage (esophagus) aren’t interacting properly, overflow secretions can spill into the voice box (larynx) and breathing passages (trachea and bronchi), causing hoarseness, throat clearing, or coughing.

How is the throat affected?

Post-nasal drip often leads to a sore, irritated throat. Although there is usually no infection, the tonsils and other tissues in the throat may swell. This can cause discomfort or a feeling that there is a lump in the throat. Successful treatment of the post-nasal drip will usually clear up these throat symptoms.

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