Dubai, UAE: According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 6% of the population have speech, voice or language disorders . The prevalence in the region is expected to be higher however, unfortunately, there are no official statistics regarding the prevalence of voice disorders for neither the UAE nor the Arab region.
Dr. Yaser S. Natour, Associate Professor of Speech Language Pathology at the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, UAE, says that the management and treatment of voice disorders has changed over the years, where the integration of three subsystems (respiration, phonation, and resonance) is now being more emphasized. Physiological exercises (such as laryngeal massage and vocal function exercise) are now common practice and treatment is no longer restricted to being medical, psychological, hygienic and/or symptomatic.
Dr. Natour will be speaking at the 9th Middle East Update in Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition (Head and Neck Surgery) taking place on 22-24 April 2012 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. This event is produced by Informa Exhibitions and accredited by the Cleveland Clinic. Supported by the UAE Ministry of Health and the Dubai Health Authority, this CME accredited event is sponsored by Karl Storz, Medtronic and GSK, and will host more than 120 internally renowned speakers who will focus on the most recent advances in the field of ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders, including the management of voice disorders.
This year’s Guest Society at the Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition is the Pakistan Association of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
“A voice disorder exists when a person’s quality, pitch, and loudness differ from those of similar age, gender, cultural background, and geographic location,” says Dr. Natour. “Patients should be concerned when there is persistent vocal quality change including breathiness, hoarseness or complete loss of voice. Other symptom also include a persistent ‘funny’ feeling or pain in the larynx, persistent feeling that the voice is “stuck” in the throat, vocal fatigue and persistent pitch breaks.”
Maintaining a healthy voice is instrumental for effective communication. Dr. Natour has the following suggestions for keeping the voice at its best: “Drink plenty of water as the vocal folds vibrate best when there is adequate moisture in the body. The number one factor associated with laryngeal cancer is the use of tobacco products so it is wise to stop smoking or using any kind of tobacco product if you want to keep a healthy, well-functioning voice. The vocal folds need to be exercised to keep them working well and the easiest vocal exercise is to glide your voice from low to high and high to low on an “ah” sound several times a day. Let air power your voice as this will keep you from straining your voice. Also, you should aim to take rest breaks for your voice, limit the amount of yelling or loud talking that you do, and especially if you have a sore throat or a bad cold, limit the amount that you talk”. “By following these suggestions, you may prevent problems from developing with your voice. If you begin to experience changes in your voice, especially if you have not been ill, it is best to consult a physician or a speech pathologist for assistance,” he adds.
Running alongside the conference is an exhibition which showcases the latest technologies and product launches from manufacturers and distributors wishing to meet an influential body of senior otolaryngologists. Products such as hearing aids, laser machines, microsurgical instruments and sleep apnea devices will be on display.
For more information on the Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition, please call +971 4 407 2743 or visit www.me-oto.com.
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