Advance with MUSC Health

The Most Amazing Instrument – The Voice

Advance With MUSC Health
September 14, 2020
Lucinda Halstead, M.D.

The voice is the most amazing instrument we have; it truly reflects who we are within and what is unique in all of us. Vocal performers tend to overlook warning signs that include loss of range, a break in their register transition or vocal fatigue, even after a day of rest. Singers need to be attuned to persistent changes in their voice. If changes don’t improve with rest, see a laryngologist. Even a subtle change in the voice could be a harbinger of an injury that could be career ending.


If you notice a subtle change in your voice, get it looked at sooner rather than later. The sooner you treat, the sooner you can get back to work. Vocal fold stiffness and scarring of the outer layers of vocal fold can be easily diagnosed. Treatments include exercise, medication and sometimes require an injection into the vocal fold.

At MUSC Health ENT, prevention is a key part of treatment. “A large part of treating a performer is education. I examine their practice and re-educate them in their technique, so they can stay healthy. Singers may need additional training and, in that case, can be referred to a voice teacher or speech pathologist,” says Lucinda Halstead, M.D.


Scarring, small polyps, muscular fatigue and swelling in the larynx are very easy to remedy. In most cases, the success rate of restoring vocalists to peak performance is 90-95%. Success rates are higher in cases diagnosed early.

Vocal performers rely on their voice as their livelihood. That’s why it’s important for performers to see a voice and swallowing specialist. Lucinda Halstead, M.D, medical director of the MUSC Evelyn Trammell Institute for Voice and Swallowing and laryngologist for the internationally renowned Spoleto Festival USA, specializes in voice and swallowing.

MUSC Health ENT would be pleased to assist you or your loved ones. Please give us a call at 843-792-3531 to schedule an appointment with our team. We look forward to meeting you, to help you on your path to a healthy quality of life.