Sin City doesn’t have to mean that all is bad…and what happens in Vegas certainly shouldn’t stay in Vegas (when it comes to laryngeal knowledge, that is.) I attended Sin City Laryngology Conference and had the pleasure of achieving a life goal of speaking not once but twice on 2 different topics at this specialty voice conference. This happens every year, and showcases laryngologists and voice pathologists and current research practices. The best thing about this conference, however, is the practical applicability of the content. I left town having learned SO MANY gems I could apply as soon as I returned to my private practice community voice clinic, ATEMPO Voice Center. Here are the top 3.
A cause of a red larynx and crusty mucus is sometimes a result of a bacterial laryngitis. Yes, a red larynx could be caused by so many things like reflux, vocal overuse, or even yeast and fungus… but 30% of the time the patient has MRSA present and the vocal fold tissue could be cleared up by identifying it via imaging and then talking with the treating ENT about a trial of an antibiotic for 6-10 weeks like Bactrim. Special attention should be taken here to rule out other causes of the issue and care should be taken not to biopsy immediately, so working with a team is imperative. Also, if the patient has a sulfa allergy, consider talking with the physician about doxycycline. (This was from Dr. Blake Simpson’s presentation: Treatment of The Red Larynx)
Avoid having your ego attached to your success. This is not a voice-related gem specifically, but it could be. Dr. Peter Belafsky presented on a topic that spoke to me not only as a voice pathologist but also as a business owner and entrepreneur. One great point he made was to avoid feeling down after failure or trying to avoid it. Instead, he provided examples of so many failures with only a few successes. He suggested being comfortable with and even expecting failure because only with fails, do we know what is not working. He spoke of Edison and the lightbulb. He spoke of Steve Jobs. He spoke of failing early in your career so you don’t attach so much weight to the fails. When we can provide a space for failing, we can help our patients better because we don’t expect to know all the answers which can breed for innovative thinking and critical decision making.
A really great way to quickly differentiate between abductor spasmodic dysphonia and adductor spasmodic dysphonia, is to have your patient count. This is not the only task you would have them complete, and certainly isn’t the only test you would give, but it’s a quick way that MD residents seem to remember easily. If your patient has a more difficult time (strains, has more voice breaks) with counting from 80-89, you could likely have ADductor spasmodic dysphonia on your hands. Similarly, if counting from 60-69 gives your patient more trouble, more breathy stops and more strain, ABductor spasmodic dysphonia may be the issue.
I hope you’ll consider attending next year, it’s just the most fun ever. Plus you learn…and get CEUs! Here’s some parting shots 🙂
Kristie Knickerbocker, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist in Fort Worth, Texas. She rehabilitates voice and swallowing at her private practice, a tempo Voice Center, and lectures on voice science nationally. She is a member of ASHA Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Upper Airway Disorders. Knickerbocker continues to develop a line of instantly downloadable voice assessment and voice therapy materials on TPT or her website. Follow her on Pinterest, on Instagram or like her on Facebook. Kristie is a founding member and co-owner of The Confident Clinician Cooperative and mentors on voice and private practice through it at www.confidentclinician.com.