Be Careful with the Problems of the Voice

Be Careful with the Problems of the Voice

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Los exámenes con regularidad constituyen una herramienta para detectar a tiempo las afectaciones vocales. Foto: Tomada de
Photo: Tomada de


Susana Torres Salazar is an Elementary School teacher and she lost her voice at the beginning of 2010: “It was in January when I first started hearing my voice differently. I felt my throat dried and I was constantly cleaning my throat. I always blamed winter and the chalk for that.”

After a month, the teacher kept on working although she should not talk to her students in the same way she used to. So she decided to see an otolaryngologist (ENT specialist) to discover the mystery of her hoarseness that had lasted so long. After an evaluation, the doctor diagnosed her nodular laryngitis.

This patient did not know that the nodular laryngitis or the buccal nodule is a professional illness and that is mainly suffered by those people who work with the voice.

Doctor Luis Manuel Torres, ENT specialist from the Workers’ National Institute of Health (Insat) explained that the disease appears when there is inflammation of the larynx (the box of the voice where the vocal cords are in the upper part of the neck).

“In the majority of the cases it is caused by an infection, due to delay of the sick people to go to the doctor’s office. Most of the time it does not hurt and its manifestation is not the same as that of an infection,” Torres explained.

Early diagnose of occupational illnesses is very important not only for those people that suffer them, but also for the rest of the staff. If there is a systematic investigation of all professionals that use the voice for their job, it will be possible an early diagnose of the possible suffering of this illness and how to prevent it.

Group of priority

According to specialists, the most vulnerable ones to suffer this disease are the singers, actors, announcers, receptionists and educators. Investigations have produced that it is an inconvenient for people that smoke and drink alcohol in excess, work with irritant chemicals like the chalk, abuse of the voice shouting or are constantly talking.

“Within the group of risk, the ones who lose out the most are the teachers. They take less care of their heath, besides they are the last to go to the doctor’s,” Doctor Torres commented.

After several analyses in Insat, it was determined that nodular laryngitis is a professional health problem, due to the frequency and the level of labor incapacity it produces, mainly the teachers from elementary school and the educators from the nursery. This disease is appearing in earlier ages and with less years of exposition.

According to Doctor Torres, “…the most relevant thing is that the results show insufficiency in the preventive actions and the need to detect and control the suffering in the systems of health and security procedures of professionals in the Cuban educational branch.”

Lack of guides

Specialists say that people suffering this illness can go back to their jobs but should change the labor conditions that caused the suffering and use the voice correctly.

ENT specialists say it should never be operated on, because nodules are always reversible if the adequate therapy is applied.
The majority of the advices of specialists are focused on voice rest for four or six weeks, avoid powder, the smoke of the cigarette and harmful gasses and limit the use of drugs, because some of them dry the vocal cords.

In Cuba the nodular laryngitis was recognized as a professional illness mainly for educators and signers since 1996 passed by Joint Resolution number 2 from the Ministers of Labor and Public Health which was included in the current official list.

Doctor Torres believes there are actions to take for the early diagnoses of the disease. “Laryngitis is unknown by some part of the Cuban population, even by those in the risk group.”

Measures should be to decrease the incidence by communicative strategies. If there is more knowledge of the illness, it will help many people take better care of the voice.

Acerca del autor

Graduada de Periodismo en la Facultad de Comunicación de la Universidad de La Habana en el año 2014. Desde entonces se dedica a escribir e investigar sobre temas sociales, envejecimiento y de dinámica de población. Además es una de las redactoras principales de la página de Salud, especializándose en temas relacionados con la salud, la ciencia y tecnología. Ha asistido a varios cursos de postgrado, en el Centro de Investigaciones Psicológicas y Sociológicas y en el Instituto Internacional de Periodismo; relacionados con el estudio de la sociedad cubana .


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