Thursday, June 12, 2008

Deviated and Proud of It!

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 :)


Justin Barrett said...

I think it's easy to forget how much our nose impacts our voice. We get so focused on the vocal cords because they create the initial sound, but your experience is a good reminder that there are other parts that also influence the end result, and that we need to remember and care for more than just what's in the throat if we want to take care of the voice. Thanks for sharing!

Kara Edwards said...


Thank you for your comment!

You are absolutely correct, this appointment was a great reminder of how blessed we are that everything works the way it does! Our nose, our lungs, our eyes, our ears, and our brains all work together with our vocal chords to make what we do possible. It also reminded me that sometimes things are the way they are for a very good reason!

Thanks for stopping by!

rowell gormon said...

good for you, kara.

and good for your doctor for not pushing a surgery on you. that was the direction i expected the story to take.

i went through that whole thing years ago, plus another operation later on to (as one doctor put it) open up my sinus passages which were slowing "healing" themselves shut!

while i have indeed had fewer and less severe sinus infections since then, i've never felt my voice was quite as good as before. part of that may be age, part may be paranoia. but how refreshing to hear (or read) someone in our business NOT wanting to jump in and change every little...or big...thing.

and for what it's worth...when i look at you, i have to say i've NEVER noticed your nose!


Kara Edwards said...


While I didn't hear you before any surgeries, I can honestly say you have one of my favorite voices in the biz! So, something must be working for you!

I was also pleased when the doctor's solution was to do nothing, it was refreshing! No medicines, no surgeries...ahhh...rare in this medical age!

I must say, I've grown rather fond of my nose as I've gotten makes me different and I like that.

Thank you for the comment!!