PDA

View Full Version : Medical Afflictions to loose a voice?



Blinkk
05-02-2013, 08:32 AM
In a style similar to The Little Mermaid, my MC looses his voice due to a supernatural creature. MC goes to the doctor and gets checked and all that jazz.

I've been doing research online, trying to find illnesses that the doctor could site for my MC. I literally can't find anything. Is anyone familiar with any illnesses that would make one become mute for a few months?

melindamusil
05-02-2013, 10:01 AM
Anything that affects the voice box can affect the voice. So throat cancer, needing a tracheotomy... Getting shot in the throat... any freak accident where something hits the throat or slices the throat... Maybe a side effect from another drug that causes laryngitis.

Do you want the voice to come back after a few months?

Blinkk
05-02-2013, 11:09 AM
Yes the voice comes back after a two months. The MC is in denial that a supernatural creature actually stole his voice, so he goes to a doctor to try and get a diagnosis. I don't know what the doctor could possibly diagnose as a sudden case of muteness. I haven't actually been able to find any medical problems involving sudden muteness.

crunchyblanket
05-02-2013, 12:41 PM
Acid reflux can cause severe hoarseness and voice loss. it's the most common cause of voice loss I see in the ENT clinic. A particularly severe case, undiagnosed, could potentially last a few months, although it wouldn't be a total loss - a mixture of hoarseness and inability to speak above a whisper is more likely.

In truth, total loss of voice is quite rare. Laryngitis is another common cause - this can be acute (sudden onset) or chronic (over a long period of time) but again, total aphonia is unlikely.

The most likely cause of total aphonia would be traumatic injury to the vocal chords - I've seen this as a result of a thyroidectomy. Tracheotomy could also cause this, though I suspect your MC would know if s/he'd had one!

This link (http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/commonvoiceproblems.cfm) goes over some causes of voice loss and hoarseness - might prove useful.

mirandashell
05-02-2013, 01:55 PM
If the doctor couldn't find a physical cause, wouldn't he or she refer the patient to a psychiatric clinic?

melindamusil
05-02-2013, 09:04 PM
If the doctor couldn't find a physical cause, wouldn't he or she refer the patient to a psychiatric clinic?

+1. I think sudden muteness could happen as a mental condition, but if you want total muteness AND you want to it to be temporary, I'm not sure if there are any physical conditions that would fit. OTOH you could have severe laryngitis lasting a few months, but you'd still have a little whisper.

Is it important that the doctor finds a diagnosis? Could the doctor say something like, "My best guess is that this looks like an unusual presentation of *****"?

Blinkk
05-02-2013, 09:39 PM
Thanks for the help guys. If worse comes to worse I can work with Laryngitis, which I've thought of doing before.


My best guess is that this looks like an unusual presentation of *****"?

Yes, that could work. The MC wants to take comfort in the real world- not the supernatural world- so a "real world" remedy is appealing to the MC. I could use your suggestion and say it looks like an unusual case of ______. That would work for the MC's denial purposes.

As it stands right now, the doc is thinking the MC is having PTSD- like he was raped or something- and the muteness is a psychological block. The doc thinks it's elective muteness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elective_mutism) because the abuser might have pulled the "if you tell anyone, I'll kill you" type thing. It feels like a cop out to me because the condition doesn't traditionally work that way, and if there are medical conditions, I'd rather use those.

coolkayaker1
05-02-2013, 10:38 PM
aphasia online search

Siri Kirpal
05-02-2013, 11:16 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I had severe acid reflux damage to the vocal cords, which caused me to lose most, but not all, of my speaking and singing ability. If the vocal cords look red, the doctor might say it looked like an unusually severe and somewhat atypical example.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Dollywagon
05-03-2013, 12:14 AM
Message to CrunchyBlanket: Regarding the acid reflux - Low stomach acid (achlorhydria or hypochlorhydria) causes the same symptoms as high acid and just as many people suffer from it. That in itself can be indicative of b12 deficiency - which can be lethal. And, one of the symptoms of b12 deficiency is losing your voice or getting a very hoarse, quiet voice. B12 is hitting the headlines in a big way (and so it should) because it has now become very apparent that doctors are neglecting the condition because they know little about it. This is a new YouTube link to a documentary recently produced (if the mods want to delete it please type in Diagnosing and Treating Vitamin b12 deficiency) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvEizypoyO0

So yes, OP, b12 deficiency causes a hoarse voice but it's no good for your story line because doctors don't even know about it.

mayqueen
05-03-2013, 01:01 AM
Spasmodic dysphonia?

onesecondglance
05-03-2013, 01:28 AM
Main problem I can see here is the gulf between "can't do more than a hoarse whisper" and "can't make any vocalisation at all". Even with severe damage to the vocal cords you can make inarticulate sounds - that's just air interacting with your soft palate. What I'm getting from your original post is no sound at all, which would indicate a psychological block. So just as mirandashell pointed out, any doctor worth their salt would refer to a psychiatric specialist.

If your supernatural effect were to reduce everything to incomprehensible whisper, it's much more likely a doctor would misdiagnose a physical cause. Some good suggestions above, but never discount the mundane. You can quite easily fuck up your voice temporarily from just screaming badly. If your doctor knows the patient's been to a sports event / concert / something like that, they would quite likely just say to rest (not talk at all if possible, drink plenty of water) and come back in a couple of days if it doesn't get any better.

melindamusil
05-03-2013, 02:28 AM
Agreed w/ OSG ^^^
Shoot, I once had a bad case of bronchitis that reduced my voice to a faint whisper for a few weeks. I could still make noises, just nothing loud. You could have a particular virus going around that causes laryngitis (along with symptoms of a cold/flu?). Doctor's orders to rest your voice, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep.

Saanen
05-03-2013, 03:56 AM
A friend of mine lost her voice while we were in college. She was working at a fast food place, turned around to say something to a coworker, and her voice made a squeak and entirely disappeared. I don't know what the official cause was--she described it as being due to "nodules on my voicebox," whatever that means. She couldn't vocalize at all, but could whisper very, very quietly--very hard to understand since she was basically forming sounds with her mouth, not her vocal cords. She had minor surgery to get the nodules removed and her voice came back.

I hope this helps a little.

onesecondglance
05-03-2013, 10:51 AM
I don't know what the official cause was--she described it as being due to "nodules on my voicebox," whatever that means. She couldn't vocalize at all, but could whisper very, very quietly--very hard to understand since she was basically forming sounds with her mouth, not her vocal cords. She had minor surgery to get the nodules removed and her voice came back.

Here's a great video that shows you how your vocal folds work and how damage can be caused: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5agSrNMLg1s

Blinkk
05-03-2013, 09:33 PM
A friend of mine lost her voice while we were in college. She was working at a fast food place, turned around to say something to a coworker, and her voice made a squeak and entirely disappeared. I don't know what the official cause was--she described it as being due to "nodules on my voicebox," whatever that means. She couldn't vocalize at all, but could whisper very, very quietly--very hard to understand since she was basically forming sounds with her mouth, not her vocal cords. She had minor surgery to get the nodules removed and her voice came back.

I hope this helps a little.

Oh yeah! I work with singers in my job, and I know about all nodules because of the singers. I never thought about using that condition in my story together until now, but this is a highly likely medical condition. I think I'll use a combination of nodules, a psychological block, and perhaps an extreme case of bronchitis/laryngitis. That should satisfy the MC until he learns to accept the supernatural.

Thanks for the suggestions guys, this is much better than what I had before. ;)

everywriter
05-03-2013, 09:44 PM
Neuropathy/ paralyzed voice box...this does happen in some stroke patients. They have to practice to get their voices back (many times just on one side, but it could happen). If you need it to be more believable you can say he has high sugar, diabetic neuropathy that was untreated, might work...