It is estimated that some 37 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis and sinusitis each year. Many do not seek treatment; most find relief through prescription and over-the-counter medications. A minority of this population comes to the conclusion that medication is not a solution and seeks relief through endoscopic surgery. But the relief from sinusitis may have a cost – the quality of the voice.
A great voice has great resonance, affected by the body’s supraglottic area, pharynx, oral cavity, nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. When minor alterations occur in the configuration of these anatomical structures, the result could be substantial differences in vocal quality.
Although the role of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses in vocal quality remains uncertain, disorders of nasal resonance may be described in two categories: excessive nasality and insufficient nasality. Anecdotally, patients who have undergone surgery for chronic sinusitis commonly note a change in their speech quality. However, a comprehensive review of the medical, speech, and acoustic literature failed to identify any studies addressing the effects of sinus surgery on speech.
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