Anyone have voice and vocal cord issues with rheumatoid arthritis?

Posted by jba @jba, Nov 1, 2021

Has anyone had voice problems? My particular issue is problems with singing and vocal cords affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Autoimmune Diseases group.

@jba, I modified the title of your discussion a little and added it to the Autoimmune Diseases group as well as the ENT group to get the attention of people who can relate. Allow me to tag others who have spoken about vocal cord issues like @mermaid7272 @thomason @hopeful33250 @marydwyer51 @d1215 @patriciagsr @thirdbird and @america

You may also be interested in this related discussion:
– Vocal cord paralysis https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/vocal-cord-paralysis-26b28b/

While we wait for others to chime in, can you tell me a bit more about your issues? How have your vocal chords been affected? What do you do to help?

REPLY
@colleenyoung

@jba, I modified the title of your discussion a little and added it to the Autoimmune Diseases group as well as the ENT group to get the attention of people who can relate. Allow me to tag others who have spoken about vocal cord issues like @mermaid7272 @thomason @hopeful33250 @marydwyer51 @d1215 @patriciagsr @thirdbird and @america

You may also be interested in this related discussion:
– Vocal cord paralysis https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/vocal-cord-paralysis-26b28b/

While we wait for others to chime in, can you tell me a bit more about your issues? How have your vocal chords been affected? What do you do to help?

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Thank you for replying Colleen! I was referred, by my Rheumatologist at Mayo, to ENT at Mayo because I'm having problems singing and that is very important to me. (Sung all my life, in many choirs (mostly at church), with groups both a capella and with instruments, i.e. amateur musician.) ENT Dr found RA has affected joints in my larynx, weakening one vocal cord in particular. Result is vocal cords are not functioning well together, voice can be weak, "wobbly", or produce no sound at all in some situations. He also found "silent" GERD (acid reflux) that is asymptomatic. I am now on Omeprazole. He referred me to a vocal therapist (also at Mayo) and have exercises to do, drink plenty of water, no shouting or talking or singing loud, no singing without a designated microphone. And don't talk too much! I am distraught about this, music is a huge part of my life. I'm sorry for the long reply, but I needed to vent. Thank you for "listening". 🥲

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@jba

Thank you for replying Colleen! I was referred, by my Rheumatologist at Mayo, to ENT at Mayo because I'm having problems singing and that is very important to me. (Sung all my life, in many choirs (mostly at church), with groups both a capella and with instruments, i.e. amateur musician.) ENT Dr found RA has affected joints in my larynx, weakening one vocal cord in particular. Result is vocal cords are not functioning well together, voice can be weak, "wobbly", or produce no sound at all in some situations. He also found "silent" GERD (acid reflux) that is asymptomatic. I am now on Omeprazole. He referred me to a vocal therapist (also at Mayo) and have exercises to do, drink plenty of water, no shouting or talking or singing loud, no singing without a designated microphone. And don't talk too much! I am distraught about this, music is a huge part of my life. I'm sorry for the long reply, but I needed to vent. Thank you for "listening". 🥲

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Hello @jba, I can certainly understand your frustration with your speech problems. Not being able to use your voice effectively is very disappointing, especially given that you are a singer.

I have a paralyzed vocal cord as well. The cause may be Parkinson's but some specialists think it is "idiopathic" or of an unknown cause. Has vocal cord surgery a possibility for you? It was suggested for me. I had an implant placed in the paralyzed cord and it helped my voice quality as well as swallowing problems.

Do you also have problems swallowing?

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@hopeful33250

Hello @jba, I can certainly understand your frustration with your speech problems. Not being able to use your voice effectively is very disappointing, especially given that you are a singer.

I have a paralyzed vocal cord as well. The cause may be Parkinson's but some specialists think it is "idiopathic" or of an unknown cause. Has vocal cord surgery a possibility for you? It was suggested for me. I had an implant placed in the paralyzed cord and it helped my voice quality as well as swallowing problems.

Do you also have problems swallowing?

Jump to this post

Only occasionally do I have problems swallowing. Eating food that is dry is a problem because I have dry mouth and need to drink water to be able to swallow properly.

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Surgery was not suggested. I would be afraid of that. What kind of implant do you have? And how did it help your voice quality?

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Hello again, @jba

As my problems were because of a paralyzed vocal cord, the surgery I had, medialization laryngoplasty, was a procedure that placed a Silastic implant into the non-functioning vocal cord so that it would close up with the function cord. My voice was much stronger after that and I could be heard when I spoke and I was not so fatigued after speaking. Do you have a great deal of fatigue when you speak?

This procedure, done in 2014, did not "cure" anything, but gave me a better quality of life. It could be that this procedure would not help in your situation, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to inquire about it.

I was concerned about it as well, but the results made me very happy.

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@hopeful33250

Hello again, @jba

As my problems were because of a paralyzed vocal cord, the surgery I had, medialization laryngoplasty, was a procedure that placed a Silastic implant into the non-functioning vocal cord so that it would close up with the function cord. My voice was much stronger after that and I could be heard when I spoke and I was not so fatigued after speaking. Do you have a great deal of fatigue when you speak?

This procedure, done in 2014, did not "cure" anything, but gave me a better quality of life. It could be that this procedure would not help in your situation, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to inquire about it.

I was concerned about it as well, but the results made me very happy.

Jump to this post

Thank you for your reply! I'm glad your surgery gave you a better quality of life. I believe that is what we all hope for.
When speaking, I only get fatigued after talking too long and/or talking too loudly. My throat will feel tight and uncomfortable and then I realize I have overdone it. Actually, the same is true with singing.
If I get enthused and animated I tend to speak (or sing) too loudly. I have to pay attention and curb myself.
Thank you for your encouragement.

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@jba

Thank you for your reply! I'm glad your surgery gave you a better quality of life. I believe that is what we all hope for.
When speaking, I only get fatigued after talking too long and/or talking too loudly. My throat will feel tight and uncomfortable and then I realize I have overdone it. Actually, the same is true with singing.
If I get enthused and animated I tend to speak (or sing) too loudly. I have to pay attention and curb myself.
Thank you for your encouragement.

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I certainly wish you well, @jba, as you seek some solutions to this annoying problem.

I would enjoy hearing from you again. Will you post an update from time to time and let me know how you are doing?

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@hopeful33250

I certainly wish you well, @jba, as you seek some solutions to this annoying problem.

I would enjoy hearing from you again. Will you post an update from time to time and let me know how you are doing?

Jump to this post

Thank you, @hopeful33250, for your good wishes. Yes, I will try to update when I can. I am not a fan of the ubiquitous social media so joining these specific discussion groups is a big step for me. If I have not posted for while, please feel free to "nudge" me to post or reply.

I do have current questions arising regarding mood swings. Do you or any others experience this with RA? Or Sjögrens? Or with the drugs methotrexate, Humira or Enbrel?

Thanks again, and hope you are doing as well as possible at the moment. 🙂

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@jba

Thank you, @hopeful33250, for your good wishes. Yes, I will try to update when I can. I am not a fan of the ubiquitous social media so joining these specific discussion groups is a big step for me. If I have not posted for while, please feel free to "nudge" me to post or reply.

I do have current questions arising regarding mood swings. Do you or any others experience this with RA? Or Sjögrens? Or with the drugs methotrexate, Humira or Enbrel?

Thanks again, and hope you are doing as well as possible at the moment. 🙂

Jump to this post

Hi @jba,

If you would like to connect with others who have RA, we do have a discussion group on that topic. Here is the link, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/rheumatoid-arthritis-ra-introduce-yourself-and-meet-others/. Probably you will find others who have used some of the medications that you mention.

Here also is a link to a discussion on Sjogrens, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sjogrens/.

If you see a post that you would like to respond to (or perhaps ask a question of a member) just click on the "Reply" button below the post and ask questions or make a comment.

Wishing you well, and yes, I will be glad to "nudge you" if I haven't heard from you in a while.

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