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Post-Appointment update February 28, 2012

Posted by Rob H on February 28, 2012

I had my 2nd appointment with the Cleveland Clinic specialist this morning and left there even more encouraged that I am on the right track towards recovering my normal voice. When I first arrived this morning, (my appointment was at 9:30 am), my voice was very similar to the voice sample I recorded from yesterday morning. (If you missed that post, click here to view the post and listen to that voice sample). My voice was clear, strong, and close to normal. My doctor noticed right away and started asking me about the past week, how things have gone. I told him that I left last week’s appointment very encouraged and excited to get my voice fixed. Then I told him, the very next day (Wednesday) I had a small stretch of clarity when speaking with some co-workers in the break room. I blogged about this here.

I also told him that every day over the past week, I have had at least one stretch of 2-5 minutes where my voice is back to normal. Before seeing the specialist, I did not have these episodes of clarity. Sure, there were one or two words that would come out normal every now & then but I could not sustain a full sentence or paragraph without my voice deteriorating again. Now, I’ve had one such episode of clarity every day for the past week. And for the last 2 days, that clarity happened first thing in the morning.

My doctor confirmed that this means I am on the right track. As we continued with the appointment, my voice began to worsen again just as I expected. But the doctor was able to show me ways to pull my voice back to normal with several techniques. One technique is to take a nice deep breath and hum the “hhhmmmmmmmmm” sound. I have been able to consistently make this sound with clarity, even through the worst periods over the last few months. So he wanted me to start with this as my baseline. (This, by the way, is something I also learned in my voice therapy sessions before I went to the Cleveland Clinic). Then once I had a clear sound, flow right into the words I wanted to say.

A second thing he showed me how to do is to massage my own voice box. This one is weird…but seems like it will be effective. I basically have to lightly move my voice box back and forth, until I can freely move it…this means the muscles that are tightened around it have loosened up. He even wanted me to make sounds while doing this to see how the sound comes out. Basically what I need to do is keep playing with my voice until I get it right. If I get into a “bad voice”, back up, start over with some of these techniques, and pull myself out of it. Then once I get it right, the key is to take a mental note – really concentrate on how that feels and remember it – because that’s what’s going to retrain my brain to talk the correct way.

Sounds funny if you’ve never had this type of voice disorder, but to me it makes perfect sense. My doctor expects that I will continue to have these breakthroughs more & more if I continue practicing, and that is very encouraging to me. So hopefully each day, I get more & more of my voice back – he did say that most of his patients do not have the miraculous “one day” cure but it happens over time. So I need to stay patient, keep the stress level down as much as possible, and keep practicing diligently.

My “Good Voice” returned for a bit…(with Audio)

Posted by Rob H on February 27, 2012

This morning, I recorded the voice sample below. As you can hear, my voice quality was outstanding and as close to “normal” as I’ve had in awhile. I have actually had little mini-glimpses like this every day for the past week. It usually only lasts a few minutes but it’s more than I’ve had in months. Up until this last week, the only “good voice” samples I have had are in very short bursts, like one or two words. But the fact that it’s lasting several minutes is very encouraging to me.

Here is the voice sample:

Audio MP3

Transcript of audio:

Today is Monday, February 27th, 2012 and this is a voice sample from this morning, it’s about 9 o’clock in the morning. And, as you can hear my voice is in pretty good shape this morning…it’s typically better in the morning and I wanted to try and get a voice sample from the morning as opposed to the evenings (because I usually take my voice samples in the evenings). My voice is usually not THIS GOOD, but I’m hoping it holds up. And my doctor told me to continue talking and keep my voice in this zone, if I do find that zone, try to basically re-train my muscles to have my voice in this range. My voice feels really good right now, I don’t feel any tension in my throat, and I would say my voice is pretty much normal at the moment. So, this is some of what I’ve been experiencing over the last week, since my last appointment at the Cleveland Clinic which is: I’ve had some stretches of normal voice, (not very much) but it’s more than I had before, so I’m really hanging my hat on that, and happy that it’s happening. Other than that, I do have another appointment tomorrow at the Cleveland Clinic, and hopefully my voice continues to stay this good. And if not, then obviously I can get some more treatment tomorrow and hopefully get something fixed. You can hear my voice is tightening up a little bit again, so I’m going to end this voice sample. But, this is Rob and I will talk to you soon.

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