ST. LOUIS – Voice changes can be more than a minor inconvenience. Dr. Christopher Rayle is an ENT at SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital and warns that voice changes should be taken seriously if they last longer than a month. 

He encourages patients to get an evaluation to assess their vocal cord health. Rayle says, “We can take a look at the vocal cords and make sure that there aren’t any changes to the vocal cords that we need to intervene on.”

He explains the exam process. “The main part of the visit is actually a flexible laryngoscopy, which is a procedure that we do in the office with a camera that we pass through the nose, which sounds crazy and terrible, but I promise you it is not so bad. The vast majority of patients walk out of the office saying that it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be when I came in here.”

He says voice changes in smokers are the most concerning due to the increased risk of developing cancer.  Often times, treatment can include vocal cord exercises to correct the problem.

To find out about an ENT specialist, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.