A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a short bout I had with laryngitis. A few days of silence seemed to clear things right up, but I decided to finally make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist just to have things checked out.
In the 12 years since I first began earning a paycheck for using my voice, I have never seen an ENT. I read somewhere recently that professional voice actors, singers, announcers, etc should always have a good ENT on speed dial just in case. So, I decided it was time I get a complete check up. I went to my insurance website and found a list of doctors in my plan. Then, I researched and read a few reviews. It didn't take long for me to settle on Dr. B, and I made an appointment for this morning.
The staff was fantastic, and Dr. B is clearly top notch. We began with a full history, and I explained that my voice is my life. She then sprayed some horribly foul tasting stuff into my nose to numb everything before inserting a small camera inside to have a look around.
About a year ago, my allergist commented that I have very small nasal passages. Of course, I found this to be hilarious since I've always felt I have a rather large nose. However, what Dr. B found actually surprised me. I have a deviated septum.
A few of my friends over the years have mentioned that they had deviated septums, but I've never really understood what that meant. I've been doing a little research, and in my own terms, it means the nasal passage is slightly crooked. For some, it can cause trouble breathing, sleep disorders, or recurring sinus infections. Since I've never known differently, I'd say I breathe just fine, and I've never had trouble sleeping. However, I spent many years fighting sinus infections prior to allergy shots and my neti pot (which, I was told only works for some people- I'm glad I'm one of them!).
I was surprised that I had never been told about this deviated septum, but then again- this was my first ENT experience. The doctor explained that for some people, surgery is a good idea to fix the deviation. She also said because of my career as a voice actor, she was strongly opposed to such action. Apparently, this mild deviation has something to do with the sound of my voice. She said surgery would absolutely change my vocal resonance- something I would not be ok with.
What really struck me ironic was that nearly 13 years ago, I strongly considered plastic surgery to 'fix' the appearance my nose. I spent my teen years dreaming of the day that I would get my perfect nose, and what it would look like. However, when I finally had enough money saved to do it...something inside of me couldn't go through with it. In the years since, I've toyed with the idea, but again...never followed through.
Knowing what I know now about how so many of our 'parts' work together to create our individual sound, I am so thankful everything is the way it is! I know for many surgery is a good choice, but at this time, for me- it just isn't. I have a feeling it is this slight deviation in my nose that helps me create character voices, sound naturally young, etc.
Voice acting is my passion, and Dr. B unintentionally reminded me just how blessed I am to have the ability to do it!
At the end of my appointment, word had spread that I was the voice that many of the nurses and assistant's children listened to on various shows and programs. So- with a numb nose and a deviated septum, I gave them a few 'voices' as well as an autograph or two for the kidos. Needless to say, they made my day :)