Basic Laryngology

Mind the Gap

In the first part of my book, "Why is there a frog in my throat?", I lay out several definitions that are important to the foundation of studying the voice. It is particularly important that we define what voice is and how sound is generated. Equally important, we need to define how sound production can deviate from normal.

The essence of voice is that it is sound produced by anything that vibrates, and in humans, that is typically the true vocal cords. Since we have two vocal cords, there are several ways that we can inadvertently produce sound where we don't like the quality; which we would term hoarseness. The two qualities that most people don't appreciate are roughness and breathiness. Technically roughness could be called diplophonia and breathiness could be called turbulent airflow or white noise.

In this video, part one of the series "Basic laryngology “Mind the Gap” I supply video examples supporting these definitions.

In the second part of this video series, I'll talk about the various types of gaps that are encountered during an examination of the larynx. The video supplies recorded footage of the various types of gaps where air leaks.

In the third part of this video lecture, we will go over the various ways that the vocal cords can produce diplophonia or roughness.

In the fourth and last part of this video series, I've chosen a sample case and I walk you through a complete laryngeal examination. We begin with the history, move on to listening to the voice and making decisions about whether we hear breathiness or whether we hear roughness. Finally we visually examine the vocal cords with an endoscope and stroboscope in order to decide on what is causing the hoarseness.

This three step process of history, listening to the voice and then looking with the endoscope and specifically aiming our endoscope so that we define where poor quality sound is produced, we can solve or determine the cause of almost any hoarseness.