Voice Wellness Clinic Offers Solutions To Problems Of Voice, Plans Expansion

January 22, 1999

CHAPEL HILL -- Do you have chronic hoarseness? Lose your voice after talking for an hour? Feel throat pain or discomfort while talking or afterward? Experience vocal cord spasms?

If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions or have other voice problems, consider checking out the Voice Wellness Clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"We work with people who use their voices on a daily basis to do their jobs," said Dr. Ellen Markus, a speech pathologist at UNC Hospitals' Voice Wellness Clinic, who earned her doctorate in vocal music. "That includes teachers, lawyers, receptionists, airline attendants and pastors as well as professional singers."

Clinical specialists use a comprehensive team approach to vocal disorders, Markus said. Dr. Mark Weissler, professor of surgery in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at UNC-CH, and other specialists provide surgical and medical solutions.

"Depending on the problem, we might bring in specialists from a variety of fields including neurology, pulmonology and gastroenterology," she said.

One vocal problem Weissler specializes in treating is called spasmodic dysphonia, a condition where the vocal cords (or folds) spasm shut, making it almost impossible for a person to speak. Patients are injected every few months with Botulinum toxin (BOTOX), Weissler said.

The Botulinum toxin weakens or relaxes any muscle it comes in contact with, thereby preventing vocal cords from going into spasm. Although no cure exists for spasmodic dysphonia, the BOTOX treatment provides excellent relief.

"People with this problem are so grateful for the treatments," Markus said. "They'd try just about anything!"

"At the last BOTOX clinic we treated 17 patients, which is a new record for us," Weissler said.

Since its inception in 1992, the Voice Wellness Clinic has treated a steadily increasing patient population. The majority of our patients receive voice therapy, Markus said. "We're teaching people how to use their voices more efficiently -- how to relax overworked muscles, how to breathe better, and how to balance the muscles of the vocal cords."

In the past 20 years, the specialty has grown enormously, Markus said. "Voice care and medical management is a very exciting new field."

This month she coordinated the opening of a pediatric voice wellness clinic with Drs. Chapman McQueen and Weissler of otolaryngology and Kristen Brackett of speech pathology. She's also working on a WorldWide Web page for the Voice Wellness Clinic.

People can help protect their voices just as they can boost other forms of health.

To maintain a strong voice, Markus recommends drinking six to eight glasses of water daily, limiting caffeine and alcohol, not smoking, avoiding frequent coughing and throat clearing, not yelling or screaming and avoiding speaking over loud noise.
-end-
Note: Markus can be reached at 919-966-6493, Weissler at 966-6484.



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Related Botox Articles from Brightsurf:

Get on the grid: 'Micro-doses' of Botox provide up-close improvement of facial skin
Botulinum toxin - best known by the brand name Botox - is a popular treatment to reduce facial lines and wrinkles.

Botox for TMJ disorders may not lead to bone loss in the short term, but more research is needed
Botox injections to manage jaw and facial pain do not result in clinically significant changes in jaw bone when used short term and in low doses, according to researchers at NYU College of Dentistry.

Headline news: Botox injections may lessen depression
By analyzing the FDA database of adverse drug effects, UC San Diego researchers discovered that people who received Botox injections -- not just in the forehead -- reported depression significantly less often than patients undergoing different treatments for the same conditions.

Botox is an effective treatment for some common sports injuries, new research suggests
While botulinum toxin is commonly known as a cosmetic treatment for facial lines and wrinkles, a growing body of evidence suggests that 'Botox' can also be an effective treatment for certain sports injuries and chronic pain conditions, according to a review in the June issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports, official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Building a better botox
Botulinum toxins are FDA-approved and widely used. Although they are safe and effective, they can drift away from the site of injection, reducing efficacy and causing side effects.

Bifunctional nanobodies protect against botulinum neurotoxins including Botox
New study reveals potential for developing novel antibody-based antitoxins against botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), including the most commonly used, yet most toxic one, Botox.

Migraine rats, medical facts
Migraine mechanisms are still far from being fully understood. Escalating data from animal models are 'fact-checking' the neurophysiological and behavioral correlates of the migraine experience in humans, and how they may be affected by current anti-migraine drugs or might translate into new therapies.

Botox cousin can reduce malaria in an environmentally friendly way
Researchers at the universities in Stockholm and Lund, in collaboration with researchers from the University of California, have found a new toxin that selectively targets mosquitos.

Botulinum toxin reduces chronic migraine attacks, compared to placebo
A growing body of evidence supports the effectiveness of botulinum toxin injections in reducing the frequency of chronic migraine headaches, concludes an updated review and analysis in the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Facial exercise speeds Botox's wrinkle-reducing effects
For people who can't wait the three or four days for the wrinkle smoothing effects of botulinum toxin (Botox) injections to kick in, a new study shows facial exercise after the injections speeds the change in appearance by one day.

Read More: Botox News and Botox Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.