Voice Loss: I've have had no voice for almost 3 Years

Posted by maxine321369 @maxine321369, Nov 27, 2019

Hello. So I have a bit of a dilemma, a big one actually. This is a very long story but I’m just gonna summarize it or otherwise it would take forever. Basically I began losing my voice 3 years ago and completely lost it 2 years ago, I went to a bunch of ENTs, speech therapists, doctors, did a bunch of scans(I thought maybe it was an issue with my lungs or brain because my mom has lung cancer and a brain tumor). Anyways they all came back negative. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and did laryngeal massages every single day (it varied from 15-45 minutes to an hour) and after 6 months I got my voice back but it wasn’t as I expected. The issues I have with it is that I can’t talk loudly or scream anymore which isn’t as big an issue as the others I’ll be speaking about, the other issues are that my voice tires VERY quickly. I usually get an hour of talking and then it just goes back to a whisper. Plus I usually have to strain my neck and shoulders and body in general just to speak, I can’t speak naturally, I almost have to force out my voice which I bet is a bad thing but if I don’t do it then literally no voice will come out. Some days I can speak naturally and Quite loudly but I can only speak with it a few minutes until I go back to no voice again. Also I forgot to add, if I am tired or sleepy in any way shape or form, my voice also goes back to a whisper. I’m just so frustrated, I’ve tried everything and nothing’s been working out. Can someone please help me, I really need it. Thank you

Hello @maxine321369 and welcome to Mayo Connect,

I do understand your dilemma and my heart goes out to you. I have a paralyzed vocal cord along with some mild atrophy in both vocal cords. I was able to have a surgical implant in the paralyzed cord which helped the vocal cord to close up with the other one and increased my voice volume and quality and also helped with swallowing problems. My voice doesn't tire as quickly as it did prior to the surgery. That combined with speech therapy has helped tremendously.

As you say that you have seen ENTs and a speech therapist, you have probably been examined by an otolaryngologist who has looked at your vocal cords with a scope. Is that true? If not I would strongly encourage you to do so.

Also, have you seen a pulmonologist for any possible breathing problems? Do you have any problems swallowing?

I look forward to hearing from you. Will you post again?

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Hello I’m curious about the vocal paralysis, the ents have looked at my vocal cords with a scope but they looked at them when I could only whisper at the time, and whispering was very natural for me and didn’t put a strain on my voice like now after I’ve gotten some portion of my voice back but have to strain it for it come out. I wonder if the results will differ if I go back and speak with my forced voice, will they? And speaking of breathing problems, I do have some breathing problems, occasionally I have these episodes where i can’t breathe and feel my chest tightening so I have an inhaler to help me with those times. But I have done a chest x ray, ct scan and mri so I would think that any breathing problems would be prevalent in one of those scans. Thank you once again and yes hopefully I will be posting to update this situation as well as reading other posts.

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@maxine321369
Hi,

My situation was not the same as yours but I highly recommend Speech Therapy. Several years ago I regurgitated during a routine colonoscopy….the acid damaged my vocal cords. No one told me not to try to speak which I found was the worse thing to do when I went to my ENT a few days later. There was were minor nodules on the cords but nothing that steam and therapy couldn’t help. I was skeptical about the therapy but at that point I either couldn’t speak or couldn’t last too long when I tried. Was told not to to whisper as it strained vocal cords. I was amazed at the therapy and did vocal exercises for about 3 months. It vastly improved but it took nearly a year to get back to normal and my experience was minor compared to what you are going through.

Hope the hills are alive with the sound of your voice very soon. Good luck.

FL Mary

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@maxine321369

Hello I’m curious about the vocal paralysis, the ents have looked at my vocal cords with a scope but they looked at them when I could only whisper at the time, and whispering was very natural for me and didn’t put a strain on my voice like now after I’ve gotten some portion of my voice back but have to strain it for it come out. I wonder if the results will differ if I go back and speak with my forced voice, will they? And speaking of breathing problems, I do have some breathing problems, occasionally I have these episodes where i can’t breathe and feel my chest tightening so I have an inhaler to help me with those times. But I have done a chest x ray, ct scan and mri so I would think that any breathing problems would be prevalent in one of those scans. Thank you once again and yes hopefully I will be posting to update this situation as well as reading other posts.

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Have your breathing problems been checked by a pulmonologist, @maxine321369? If not, I would urge you to get a referral. Without the proper amount of breath, you cannot talk well.

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Hi @maxine321369 you may have noticed I moved your post to the Ear, Nose & Throat group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/ear-nose-throat-conditions/) so that your post would be seen by more people with similar experiences.

I would like to thank @hopeful33250 and @imallears for responding to your post and would like to add to the response that Mary gave you. My Mom has had similar experiences of voice weakness for the majority of my life. As an elementary school teacher it obviously affected her greatly and she would come home frequently saying how tired her voice was. She was recently diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia and, like Mary, has found vocal exercises and retraining herself how to speak and breath has been very helpful.

Here's a Mayo Clinic Radio episode on Muscle Tension Dysphonia: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/muscle-tension-dysphonia/
Here are some exercises to help you breath from your diaphragm: https://inside.mountsinai.org/blog/the-interelationship-of-breathing-and-speaking/

Do these symptoms sound similar to what you are experiencing? Is this something you could ask your doctor about to see if this could help your case?

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@maxine321369

Hello I’m curious about the vocal paralysis, the ents have looked at my vocal cords with a scope but they looked at them when I could only whisper at the time, and whispering was very natural for me and didn’t put a strain on my voice like now after I’ve gotten some portion of my voice back but have to strain it for it come out. I wonder if the results will differ if I go back and speak with my forced voice, will they? And speaking of breathing problems, I do have some breathing problems, occasionally I have these episodes where i can’t breathe and feel my chest tightening so I have an inhaler to help me with those times. But I have done a chest x ray, ct scan and mri so I would think that any breathing problems would be prevalent in one of those scans. Thank you once again and yes hopefully I will be posting to update this situation as well as reading other posts.

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@maxine321369 Breathing problems would best be diagnosed with a pulmonary function test.
Have you had one of those? Here is a link to some information from Mayo Clinic about pulmonary medicine,
https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/pulmonary-medicine/sections/tests-procedures/orc-20397849.
Here is a video showing what the test looks like when it is performed,
https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-adk-adk_sbnt&hsimp=yhs-adk_sbnt&hspart=adk&p=breathing+testplumonary+function+test+video#id=1&vid=48e41012e2bad651727314c0cee6e25f&action=click

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Thank you all. I’m going to look into what you said. But I’m still wondering about the vocal paralysis. Would the results be different with a scope if I tried to talk with my strained voice ?

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Also I have went to two speech pathologists and have been doing voice exercises for months and months and although my voice went from a whisper to a strained voice that I can only use for a couple of minutes to an hour a day, I still haven’t recovered yet and I don’t think that speech therapy is the way to go to get my voice back. I’m going to be ranting a bit here but this voice problem has completely ruined me, I don’t have the same joy in my life and I haven’t gone out(for fun) in almost two years and then a couple of months ago after I got back my strained voice, I went out once and then after a couple of minutes, my voice went away again. I felt absolutely crushed and lost, it sent me deeper into my depressive state. That’s one of my biggest fears is that I would go out and my voice would go away. I felt so helpless. I tried to go out a week or two later again and the same thing happened. I am on Prozac just for anyone wondering. So my last hope is the vocal paralysis thing. Edit: I forgot to add something, whenever i did the vocal exercises(2 years ago with the speech pathologist and for the past couple of months on my own), my voice would actually feel even more strained and tight after I did the exercises. This has always happened and I don’t really get why it does

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@maxine321369

Thank you all. I’m going to look into what you said. But I’m still wondering about the vocal paralysis. Would the results be different with a scope if I tried to talk with my strained voice ?

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@maxine321369

If you had a paralyzed vocal cord it would probably be very obvious when a scope is done. A paralyzed vocal cord just hangs there. There is little or no closure with the other vocal cord. Did your ENT print out pictures from your scope? If not, call and ask for them.

I can understand your concerns being without a voice or one that is very weak is worrisome.

Have you considered getting a second opinion from a doctor who specializes in vocal cord problems rather than a general ENT? You might look for a large multi-disciplinary medical center in your area like a university medical school or another large medical institution and call and see who they have on staff who specializes in vocal cord disorders. For my vocal cord problems, I traveled to Cleveland Clinic which was a 3-hour drive, but well worth it.

I'm interested in hearing about your progress. Will you post again?

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I’m not gonna lie, hearing the news from you that I most likely don’t have vocal paralysis really dampened my mood as I was relying on that as my last hope in finally getting answers. Nonetheless I have made another ENT appointment for Monday so I’m not going to completely lose hope. I was wondering something, is it possible for the doctor to refer me to someone who can give me the injection that you talked about even though I might not have vocal paralysis? Will the injection be helpful to me? As I said, I’m hopeless and anything would help at this point. I don’t think I would be able to have a surgery though, right.? I’m just completely out of options and I don’t know what to do. Yes I will be updating frequently

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@maxine321369 Only the doctor could tell you if vocal cord injections would be helpful to you.

Will you post again after Monday's appointment?

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Yes I will be posting again after Monday’s appointment. Thank you for your help

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Hello again. I would like to ask about a few things. I’ve been looking through the posts here and I’ve seen some people talk about removing fat from the body and put it in the vocal chords. Also seen that people talked about thyroplasty or Botox injections as treatment for vocal problems such as dysphonia so I was wondering if anyone has any knowledge or experience with these? Thank you

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Hello @maxine321369,

I did find one Connect discussion on spasmodic dysphonia and the use of Botox. Some of the posts are quite old (2011) but there are some more recent ones as well. You can take a look and see what people are saying about their experiences.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/spasmodic-dysphonia/?commentsorderby=DESC#chv4-comment-stream-header
Please remember that the experience of the doctor who is providing these injections is most important. I urge you once again to seek out an otolaryngologist who is highly trained in treated speech disorders. If you find a specialist who treats people in the media (professional singers, tv personalities, etc.) you will probably have better success than a general otolaryngologist.

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@maxine321369

Hello again. I would like to ask about a few things. I’ve been looking through the posts here and I’ve seen some people talk about removing fat from the body and put it in the vocal chords. Also seen that people talked about thyroplasty or Botox injections as treatment for vocal problems such as dysphonia so I was wondering if anyone has any knowledge or experience with these? Thank you

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Hello, @maxine321369 – I wanted to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I can hear the discouragement in your writing about losing your voice. I note you have not yet given up and are exploring all possible options.

As you do so, I'd like to introduce you to some other Connect members who have mentioned dysphonia, vocal paralysis or other vocal chord problems. They may have some insights from their personal experiences that would relate to what you've experienced with losing your voice partially 3 years ago and totally 2 years ago. Please meet @jgerstley1@marydwyer51 @ken45140 @patriciagsr @kathystl @oakbourne @patriciagsr.

How did your ENT appointment go yesterday, @maxine321369?

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