Treating voice problems in younger people requires unique expertise. Dr. Korovin has over twenty-five years of experience helping professional and non-professional singers in their teens or, in some cases, as young as 4 or 5, with the full range of vocal issues.
Personal care is a key to working with child singers, who may be more scared than adult patients and require more explanation from the doctor. Kids may also be brought into the office by a nanny or, in the case of young professional singers, a handler who works for a show they may be in. Dr. Korovin knows from experience that young singers may not even understand that they have a vocal problem because only the people around them have noticed it. She also has the expertise to know that girls are more prone to certain vocal traumas than boys, while boys may be more likely to feel anxiety about puberty affecting their voices.
American Idol Effect
“Kids often push their voices too hard,” says Dr. Korovin. “I call it the American Idol effect. They’ll sing too many hours and practice too much, often without training in proper vocal technique.” Typical issues that can arise in child singers include vocal cord swelling and reflux. The young patient may have symptoms from vocal fatigue or a tickling in the throat to outright pain when singing or the voice completely giving out. Some may have experienced a series of micro-traumas as a result of injuries of the layers of the vocal folds.
Dr. Korovin always takes a complete medical history on a young patient, to find out if a vocal cord injury may be the result of an underlying condition such as an allergy, endocrine disorder, systemic illness or reaction to a medication. Teenage patients may be having voice problems due to smoking.
Some Changes Are Normal
At the same time, some children may experience vocal weakness due to completely normal growth changes. Vocal ligaments do not completely grow until puberty, and singers 10 years or younger can experience vocal instability because it’s appropriate for their age.
Some of the problems Dr. Korovin is qualified to treat in young performers include:
– Vocal fold edema
– Vocal cord nodules
– Vocal cord cysts
– Vocal cord hemorrhage or tears
– Vocal fold tears
Fortunately, most young singers, actors and other performers who see Dr. Korovin can be resolve their vocal problems with basic rest. Some do need to be treated with medications. For many patients, Dr. Korovin also recommends a top quality vocal coach for training in proper singing technique to avoid further problems.