A study reported that patients who have undergone a nasal reshaping surgery may experience changes in their voice. Differences in the sound of a patient’s voice following nose surgery is apparent to both the doctor and patients. Typically, the surgery has no effect on the function of the patient’s speech. This new research was conducted by Dr. Kamran Khazaeni of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran. Patients considering a nasal reshaping surgery need to be aware of the potential changes to the sound of their voice. This especially applies to those who use their voice professionally.
The researchers studied 27 patients undergoing nose surgery. These patients were seen by two different hospitals in Iran. The patients consisted of 22 women and five men whose average age was 24. Out of these patients, 22 percent used their voice professionally.
Recordings were made of the patients’ voices before and after the surgery. Trained listeners were used to determine if there were changes in the patients’ voices. The trained listeners were not aware if they were listening to the before or after recording.
The trained listeners were able to hear differences in the voices. They reported an increase in “hyponasality” of the patients’ voice. Hyponasality forms in the voice as a result of less air moving through the naval cavity. It sounds similar to a person with a stuffy nose. Dr. Khazaeni stated, “This observed increase in hyponasality perception demonstrates that the change in the patients' voices is perceptible to trained listeners, but does not address whether this change is apparent in everyday life and in routine conversations.” The hyponasality may not be an apparent problem and will likely not affect a patient’s life in anyway.
Another method to determining perceived changes in the patients’ voices was for each patient to fill out a questionnaire about problems with their voice. The questionnaire did reveal decrease in voice quality. The patient’s perception of their voice and their emotional response to it was worse after getting nose surgery.
An acoustic analysis was used to determine a change in frequency and an amplitude in certain sounds of the voice. Any changes in the voice could be related to the narrowing of the nasal cavity from nose surgery. The researchers stated, “The changes in surface area of nasal cavity may increase airflow resistance and cause an increase in sound absorption and a decrease in passing sound amplitude.”
Rhinoplasty is an extremely common procedure in Iran. Because this cosmetic surgical procedure is growing in popularity, there is increase in concern about the effects it has on a patient’s voice. The study did indicate that there were changes to a patient’s voice following nose surgery. However, the changes aren’t dramatic enough for people to notice on a day to day basis. This is only a major concern for people that use their voice professionally. For these patients, they should talk to their doctor about the risks.
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