The demand on the voice for today’s artist is high, and it is only getting higher. The requirement to produce and stay relevant results in constant vocal workload. The only way to get a performer through such a high level of demand is to have multiple sources of support.
A singer should have a vocal coach and laryngologist on their team and may also require a speech therapist on occasion, should injury or problems arise.
- Laryngologist – an ear, nose and throat doctor who has done an extra year of training (called a fellowship) to specialize in the care of the voice
- Speech therapist – a rehabilitation profressional who treats injured or disordered voice.
- Vocal Coach – a teaching professional with experience in musical instruction and singing anatomy
Be cautious about going to anyone who does not see the need for a team approach. This suggests a lack of knowledge about what is needed to care for the professional voice. Your laryngologist handles the medical elements of your care and should communicate any concerns to the vocal coach, with your permission.
It’s important to understand what a laryngologist is so that you can ensure you are with the right type of doctor.
WHAT IS A LARYNGOLOGIST?
A laryngologist is an Ear, Nose and Throat physician who has completed an additional year of training in Laryngology, or care of the larynx. This may include breathing and airway as well as the swallowing mechanism but often focuses on the voice.
During the year of fellowship training, they will have received specialty training in interpretation of videostroboscopy and doing laryngeal surgical procedures. These fellowships are only offered to select Ear, Nose and Throat candidates and are offered at only a few locations around the country. Most laryngologists will complete their year of additional training and then commit their practice exclusively to the care of the larynx.
I advise performers inquire carefully about their doctor to ensure they are working with someone with this training. By confirming you are with someone with at least these qualifications, you are more likely to be receiving quality care, which is of vital importance for injury prevention for the voice performer.