Division of Voice & Laryngology
At the Division of Voice and Laryngology at Osborne Head and Neck Institute in Los Angeles, CA, we specialize in the care of injuries that occur in singers, actors, and other professional voice users. We use state-of-the art equipment and carefully-trained ears to ensure accurate diagnosis is established. Treatment is tailored to the diagnosis, with care taken to be conservative and collaborative with the patient.
In cases of vocal nodules or other voice-use related pathology, this often includes voice therapy and other non-surgical adjunctive therapies to speed up recovery. At times, vocal injury requires surgical intervention. Advanced surgical techniques, including microlaryngeal instrumentation and laser technology, are utilized for the most vocally-protective results. These techniques are particularly useful in complicated cases of vocal paralysis, throat cancer, and larynx tumors. Vocal hemorrhage cases may require advanced care and her experience in these cases has resulted in superior vocal results.
We are dedicated to delivering superior individualized patient care, unsurpassed service, and unparalleled surgical excellence, including in our dedicated specialization in the repair of the perforated septum. We provide you with a culture of cooperative patient management, where you and your doctor mutually decide the best course of medical and surgical care, customized to your needs. After treatment decisions are reached, our physicians work as your advocate to provide you the most exceptional care available. Visit ohni.org for more information.
Featured Case Videos
Voice Disorder Diagnosis
Vocal Nodules / Nodes
Nodules are thickenings or callouses that form on the vocal folds. They are a result of vocal trauma.
A cyst is a small fluid and mucous collection that develops within the vocal fold.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux is the backwards flow of stomach contents into the pharynx and larynx.
A vocal hemorrhage is blood that has leaked into the vocal fold from an injured blood vessel.
Vocal paralysis is the total absence of movement of a vocal cord due to nerve damage.
A papilloma is a warty growth that occurs on the vocal cords due to infection with HPV.
Vocal atrophy is the thinning of one or both vocal muscles.
A granuloma is an inflammatory mass that grows in the larynx, usually in the back.
Polyps are fluid-filled collections that form on the edge of a vocal cord.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How can I take better care of my voice?
Caring for your instrument as a vocalist is the best way to ensure the longevity of your career. It is important to become knowledgeable about the voice and how it works. This ensures you can play an active role in your own care.
When you manage your general health, your voice usually will follow suit. This includes:
Not Smoking (anything)
Managing Weight and Reflux
However, there are a multitude of things that may affect your voice that may be difficult to identify without expert evaluation. Having a laryngologist on your team when you are feeling well is the best way to identify problems early and have a resource when you need one. Your laryngologist should obtain a baseline videostroboscopy, discuss any issues that may be affecting your voice (nasal airflow, allergies and sinus issues, muscular approach to voice, tightness in the neck, etc) and help you resolve them early, before they result in injury.
2. How can I know if I have nodules?
This feared diagnosis is often the reason singers delay evaluation in the first place. The only true way to know this is through videostroboscopy. This advanced endoscopy modality allows for accurate diagnosis of vocal issues when used by an expert laryngologist.
However, you may consider checking the following things to gauge the likelihood of your having nodules:
- Does your speaking voice sound normal?
- Is your singing range normal?
- Can you sing quietly?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you probably do not have nodules.
Nodules may result in neck pain and pain with voice use. They will also cause a decrease in vocal range as well as a widened vocal break (passaggio). Vocal fatigue will often also be present. It is typical for singers to have all of these symptoms when they have nodules.
However, there are other injuries that will result in vocal symptoms and warrant evaluation. Any singer who is hoarse for more than one day should seek evaluation with a laryngologist.
3. What should I look for in a voice doctor?
The most important basic criterion that a singer should look for is that their physician is a board-certified, fellowship-trained laryngologist, rather than a “voice doctor,” which is a generic term that does not connote any advanced training in voice medicine.
Your laryngologist should be passionate about the care of the voice, which usually means their practice is restricted to the care of the voice. Your visit should include
- A careful history of your voice problem
- Voice analysis
Laryngologists will also have a vocal therapist in their office to ensure optimal care of their voice patients. As vocal therapy is a critical part of voice medicine, it is advisable to make an appointment with the therapist as well. A skilled vocal therapist will identify vocally-damaging behaviors and also work on breathing and muscular issues that may be affecting your voice.
4. What should I know about vocal surgery?
Vocal surgery does not have to be career-ending. Most injuries that are surgically treated result in full recovery of the singing voice.
It is important to select your surgeon carefully, and have them be someone you trust with your instrument. Collaboration with a vocal therapist and vocal coach are vital to rehabilitation as well.
5. What IS Laryngeal Myofascial Adjustment?
Laryngeal manipulation is a combination of mobilization, manipulation, and massage of the laryngeal and paralaryngeal area. Patients must first have an examination by a laryngologist to determine candidacy and appropriateness of therapy. Laryngeal manipulation is performed in a medical setting to ensure patient safety and a high quality of care. Laryngeal manipulation is used to:
- reduce laryngeal/voice pain
- reduce laryngeal tension
- improve vocal function
- increase vocal range
- improve vocal stamina and endurance
- reduce tongue pain and tension
- improve jaw mobility
Laryngeal manipulation should only be done by a clinician with expertise in laryngeal anatomy and diseases of the head and neck. Our doctors are trained head and neck surgeons and have done additional study and training in manual techniques of the head and neck. Through this thorough understanding of anatomy and pathology, we are able to relieve voice symptoms with manual techniques and medical therapies.
Become our Patient
Your Vocal Consultation
As a singer, your voice is your livelihood. Researching and finding the right doctor to evaluate you, diagnose you, and treat you is the most vital component to your recovery. It is very difficult to find a qualified laryngologist, rather than a general “voice doctor” who truly understands the voice, how it works, and how it responds to injury. Remember, most ENT doctors have little to no training in voice medicine, unless they complete a fellowship in laryngology. We believe it is always in your best interest to get a second opinion. We have extensive experience in the evaluation and treatment of voice disorders. Most of the second opinions she has performed are found to be misdiagnoses due to inadequate training, endoscopy equipment, or a poor understanding of voice function. We understand that it is often inconvenient, time-consuming and expensive for patients to fly to our Los Angeles office for a consultation, and then fly back again a few weeks later for surgery. We have designed a program to facilitate your experience that will allow you to determine the best options available to you from the comfort of your home.
Contact Us Now For Your Consultation
The first step is to call or e-mail our patient care consultant, and request a preliminary phone, virtual / video, or in-office consultation with OHNI regarding your vocal concerns.
Send Photos and Video
Please provide clear, recent close-up photos of your vocal cords. Ideally, this would be accompanied by a video of your stroboscopy. However, we do understand that ENTs do not generally perform this procedure and that you may therefore not have this. Any images you can provide of an exam you have had will help in the consultation.
Our patient care coordinator will provide you with the specific forms you need to fill out before your visit. For more information, please contact our patient coordinator at (310) 657-0123.
Obtain an Evaluation
Your doctor will review your history, physical exam findings, all reports, films and images before your consultation. It is very important that we have all available information prior to your consultation. If you are having difficulty obtaining your records, you may contact us and we can facilitate and/or expedite the process for you. We will need you to sign a release of medical records to our office prior to us contacting your physician or hospital. After reviewing your information, your doctor will speak with you. This may include vocal task testing; having a song available that demonstrates your difficulty will help. Some singers also choose to have their vocal coach on the call, to allow for more complex task testing. After a completion of a release form, we will arrange this as well. Together, you will come up with a customized treatment plan. For surgical consultations, our Patient Care Consultant will contact you to discuss pre-operative care, costs, recovery, local accommodations and any questions related to your procedure.