Disorders of the Throat and Voice

Ear nose and throat surgeons frequently see patients who suffer with sore throats, snoring, troublesome coughing or problems with their voice.

Comprehensive assessment with a full history, examination and endoscopy are usually diagnostic. Occasionally further investigation with CT scans or swallowing tests are needed. A visit to an ENT surgeon may help rule out anything sinister and treatment of the problem may then be commenced.

Occasionally, referral to other health specialists such as gastroenterologists, respiratory medicine specialists or speech therapists may be necessary.

Voice problems

These may vary from problems with singing to an inability to make any voice at all. A solid understanding of the complex anatomy and disorders of the larynx (voice box) enable the ENT to assess and manage of the causes of a patient's voice disorder. Depending on the patient we use endoscopy in the clinic and/or laryngoscopy in the operating theatre to fully assess the larynx. We work closely with highly qualified speech therapists to obtain the best outcome for our patients.

Snoring

This troublesome condition often affects the whole family and can be an indication of potentially unhealthy sleep.

Snoring that is associated with obstructive sleep apnoea (pausing in the breathing) often presents to ENT surgeons for management. This sleep disorder presents with daytime sleepiness, headaches and can put significant stress on the heart and lungs. Only a minority of these patients are suitable for surgery (on the nose or throat or both) and a multi-disciplinary approach (with sleep studies and respiratory physician contribution) is sometimes necessary.

Simple snoring (loud sleeping without pausing) is extremely common and is addressed with a comprehensive history and examination. Snoring without apnoeas is usually more amenable to surgical correction and a variety of approaches and techniques exist to improve the airway and prevent its collapse during sleep. Surgery would only be considered once other factors such as lifestyle and weight issues are maximized.

With a broad understanding of the anatomy, physiology and disorders of the nose and throat, ENT Surgeons are well placed to discuss the most effective snoring management options with their patients.

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