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What is Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD)?

Muscle tension dysphonia (MTD) is one of the more confounding and misunderstood conditions of the voice.  With this condition the vocal cords and supporting structures may be healthy but they are working too hard.  MTD is caused by the throat muscles being too tight and out of balance with the rest of the voice production system.  The person with MTD may feel that it takes more effort to talk and their voice gets worse the more they talk.  Many patients may feel a soreness of their neck, throat and often their shoulders. Sometimes MTD may develop in trying to compensate for a weak vocal fold or a vocal fold lesion.

MTD is characterized by the following:

  • Voice that sounds rough, hoarse, gravely, or raspy
  • Voice that sounds weak, breathy, airy, or is only a whisper
  • Voice that sounds strained, pressed, squeezed, tight, or tense
  • Voice that suddenly cuts out, breaks off, changes pitch, or fades away
  • Voice that “gives out” or becomes weaker the longer the voice is used
  • Pitch that is too high or too low
  • Difficulty singing notes that used to be easy
  • Pain or tension in the throat when speaking or singing
  • Feeling like the throat is tired when speaking or singing
  • Voice that may sound normal sometimes, such as during laughing or coughing

Once an otolaryngologist has examined you and diagnosed you with MTD, you will typically be referred to a speech pathologist for voice therapy.  In some cases there may be some underlying physical or emotional stress contributing to the dysphonia.  Our voices are very emotional instruments and help to convey a spectrum of emotions including happiness, sadness and anger.  “I’m all choked up” is more than just a figure of speech.  As such, you may ...

Hearing loss in the workplace

Hearing loss is a term that many associate with an aging population. For some it may trigger memories of large, obvious and obtrusive hearing aids or devices that squealed!  This is not the reality in 2013.  A look at the individuals I see every day as an audiologist reveals a large number of employed professionals who are encountering difficulty in work environments.  From telephone work to conference and lunch meetings, hearing loss is impacting our workforce.

The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that nearly 1 in 5 Americans between the ages of 45-64 years of age experience hearing loss.  The prevalence of hearing loss increases with age and with an aging workforce that includes many working well into their 70s, it should be noted that the incidence of hearing loss increases to 1 in 3 for Americans between the ages of 65-74 years of age.  We now have a culture of employment that includes unique viewpoints from four generations working side by side.   Many of us are aware that intergenerational communication styles may vary.  It would behoove us to also consider hearing loss as we think about intergenerational communication in the workplace. 

Individuals who work in a quiet or solitary environment may “get by” with their hearing loss. However, most individuals will encounter much more complex listening environments at work. Imagine if you had hearing loss and were required to listen in the following environments:

  • Working in a cubicle environment where colleagues speak from behind or speak over/through walls.
  • Participating in conference calls and telephone calls in which there are no visual cues to supplement the speaker’s voice.
  • Participating in conference room meetings where distance can create a barrier in the ability to hear individuals around the table.
  • Listening to individuals with ...

Family Meals with Young Children

Many parents don’t realize how much eating meals together as a family helps their children’s development and well-being in addition to being known to reduce the risk of obesity and improve the nutrition of children. Eating meals together is a valuable lesson and practice in sharing. By eating the same foods, hearing about someone else’s day, and telling stories, kids learn to compromise and show respect. Sitting around the table with the family is a great setting for children to see how they are a part of something bigger than just themselves.

When you have young children, it is a key time to start eating meals as a family and develop this lifetime habit. Even babies old enough to sit in a high chair but not old enough to eat everything everyone else is eating will benefit from joining the family at the table.

Here are some tips to make mealtimes more pleasant with young ones:

Control your blood pressure to prevent stroke

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a leading risk factor for stroke. Yet, more than 1 in every 3 adults in the Northwest has been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Here are some things you can do:
  • Visit your healthcare provider:  Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year – more often if you have a history of high blood pressure, have heart disease, have diabetes, or are overweight. 
  • Get involved:  If you have high blood pressure it's important to work with your provider to improve your health.  This may include changes in diet, exercise, and medications.  Implement changes incrementally for success!
  • Know your family medical history:  If high blood pressure runs in your family, it’s important to ...

Supporting the March for Babies

Dr. Packia Raj and I helped with the March of Dimes Walk (March for Babies) on Saturday, May 4th at the Seattle Center.



The March for Babies is the longest-running and most widely recognized walking event in the nation with 2013 marking its 75th anniversary. This fundraiser incorporated thousands of volunteers participating in a fun-filled day of walking to raise money in support of lifesaving research and programs to make sure every baby gets a chance for a healthy start in life... 

Healthy Mexican Cuisine - Muy nutritivo y delicioso!

Although most Americans celebrated the day of Mexican pride and heritage yesterday, there is no reason to stop the party. To spice up your diet, incorporating the regional dishes of Mexico can offer a range of health benefits and variety to your everyday routine. It is possible to enjoy the fresh Mexican flavors without wrecking your waistline!

Mexican cuisine is much more than the high fat, high calorie gigantic platters of food often served in American style restaurants. The land and seas of Mexico provide a plethora of fruits, vegetables, and heart healthy fishes that are important for good nutritional health.


 
A fast and easy dish you can prepare ahead of time and actually improves as it sits is ceviche. Traditionally...

Why do people get hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are composed of blood vessels found in the internal and external anal area. Believe it or not, everyone is born with hemorrhoidal tissue. Although there are several theories regarding the function of hemorrhoids, many physicians believe that hemorrhoids help maintain fecal continence.

Why Do People Get Hemorrhoids?

When the blood vessels become enlarged (similar to varicose veins in the leg), hemorrhoids may begin to bleed, become swollen, and can be extremely painful.

There are several reasons why enlargement of these veins can occur. The most common reasons are thought to be related to straining and increased pressure on the abdomen, including:

  • Constipation
  • Prostate problems in men
  • Chronic cough
  • Dietary factors
  • Pregnancy

Should Hemorrhoids Be Treated?

If symptoms are mild or infrequent, then treatment may not be necessary. If symptoms are more severe, such as frequent pain, bleeding, itching, or, difficulty with hygiene, there are several treatment options available.

Treatment options will vary depending upon the size of the hemorrhoid and if it is internal or external. Common treatments include:

  • Sitz baths
  • Prescription medications
  • Rubber band ligation
  • Surgical removal

Most procedures can be completed in the physician’s office and take less than 30 minutes. If surgery is required, patients go home the same day.

Will Hemorrhoids Come Back After Treatment?

Following treatment, a recurrence is uncommon. If hemorrhoids do return, conservative therapy usually corrects the problem.

The ‘Bottom’ Line

You do not have to live with, or schedule your daily activities around your hemorrhoidal discomfort. Our goal is to help find treatment that is right for you.

If you have questions about hemorrhoids or treatment options, call the Swedish Colon & Rectal Clinic at 206-386-6600.

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