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Voice changes post thyroid surgery
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Voice changes post thyroid surgery

Ten weeks after surgery my voice is raspy. I sing in stereo now, like there are two voices going. The surgeon said that the vocal chords looked good and that I should recover. My question for anyone is how long can it take?  When do I know when I need more help, if I do. Is this ever permanent? I would love input. Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have been hoarse.MY vocal chords werent damaged but I have had hoarseness since my surgery 2 months ago.It is getting better and I can finally sing again.Hang in there.It Will come back.Love Venora
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158939_tn?1274918797
I'm not sure about permanency, I'm sure there are a few cases out there.  My sister was very hoarse for about 9 months then her voice cleared right up.  Apparently it was more about her intubation than the thyroid surgery (according to the doctors).  Hang in there - just consider it one of those low, sexy voices.  :-)
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Avatar_f_tn
How long have you been without Synthroid?  My voice went very deep when I was off of my Synthroid for awhile and I was told this was normal.  It went back to normal when my TSH levels went back down.

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Avatar_n_tn
Hello.
I had a total thyroidectomy with neck dissection for thyroid cancer in 1-03.  I lost my voice for 3 mos, regained it slowly and to this day it is not the same.  I lived to sing before (not sure how good I was but I loved it!) now my range is about 1/3 of what it was before and low.  My Dr says it is due to the extent of the cancer invading my vocal cords and will likely never be the same again.  I do believe that with lots of work it will come back if even a little. I'll take whatever I can get.
I also have 2 friends who have been thru thyroid surgery of different types with the same results.  So it isn't uncommon, uncomfortable and agravating, but not uncommon.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a Total Thyroidectomy for a Giant Substernal Thyroid Dec 2005 and still have severe tightness in the neck and cannot extend my voice or sing.  I'm going to a Laryngologist tomorrow for a EMG nerve study.  Will keep you posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
My voice is hoarse too. my surgery was the beginning of january. It feels very strained when i talk. I does seem to be gettiing better but is sore when i laugh and i find it very difficult to talk within a crowd environment. I've heard this is pretty rare.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had surgery on 12-27-06, and my voice is still raspy and almost at a whisper.  If I am in a crowded area, no one can hear me.  I have to stop in the middle of a sentence to catch another breath.   Although, it does seem to get a little better every day.  I am keeping positive and believing that it will come back completely, but I guess it will just take time.  I do have some problems swallowing.  I feel like I have to lean my head down to swallow.  At this point, I am just glad it was not cancer, and pray for my regular voice soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
Three months after Thyroidectomy for Thyroid Cancer, my voice is still hoarse.  It gets worse as day goes on, and by evening it's almost a whisper.  I am worried because the doctor who gave me the radiation pill said that the longer the hoarseness, the more likely it is that your voice will not return.  I'm a singer and love it.  I tried to sing the scales, and couldn't, but the wrse part was I was off-key.  any input will be so appreciated.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a total thyroidectomy in Sept of 06. The Dr had to remove one of my parathyroid glands also as it was embedded in the surrounding thyroid tissue.
It is now July of 07 and my voice has not come back.
I have had my vocal cords tested and the Dr. permanently damaged them during surgery. I have been to an ENT and a speech pathologist. The ENT recommends another procedure to try and regain some voice levels above a whisper. I am a bit unsure about that. Everyone I meet for the first time asks me if I have a cold or laryngitis, in large groups or noisy places I cannot be heard. I can no longer sing or talk to my girlfriends on the phone.  
This surgery has very much changed my life. I went from being outgoing to just staying home a lot more now. I am short of breath when I talk or exercise. I used to be very active. I am in good physical condition. I used to be a preschool teacher....I am really wanting to talk to others that have been through this. I have another appt with the ENT this week.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a hemithyroidectomy (at least I think that's what you call it), I know how you all feel.  I'm 7 months post op and can't extent my voice or sing.  It's frustrating having to explain to every new person that you meet why they can barely hear you.  I have been trying to stay positive about the whole thing.  Funny thing is, I work as a receptionist so I'm constantly being asked about my voice and sometimes even made fun of but I don't really take it to heart.  It is what it is.  My doctors are taking me to a speech therapist.  I've become used to my voice so I can't really tell if it's improving or not.  My friends sometimes say it is but I feel like maybe they just say it to make me feel better.  It's good to know I'm not the only one struggling with this issue.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had surgery in March 2007.  My voice sounds like I am from an island.  I have problems with saying some words, breathing while talking and my doctor says my left vocal cord is damaged.  I just starting going to speech and she is the best.  I don't know if any more damage is done because the doctor i have is not very honest.  I am going to see another doctor hopefully soon and hope to get some answers.  I never thought this would happen to me but it did.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had surgery in Feb. 2008...a total thyroidectomy and the right parathyroid was also removed.  I am a professional singer and I also teach middle school chorus full time.....anyone who has ANY doubts about their doctor should definitely seek a second opinion!!!  My thyroid cancer was the cause of my larnygitis that went incorrectly diagnosed for 6 months.  The second ENT finally diagnosed it.  I will be having raidone treatment and external beam radiation due to the type of cancer I have. I also have to have a second surgery just on my vocal folds.  I feel blessed that I can breathe and swallow fine so far... but I understand that external beam radiation can cause swelling and scaring.
Can anyone who has also had the same treatments and also sing let me know what I might expect?
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Avatar_n_tn
I had my left thyroid removed on July 24, 2009. I thank God it was not cancer it was just enlarged, about the size of a golf ball. From the first day I have not gotten my voice back. Right now it still sounds like a whisper. I'm a phone customer service rep. Is something wrong will I ever get my voice back?
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Avatar_n_tn
Now , I'm very worried about surgery because I too sing semi-professionnally and was told that there is only a 1-5% risk of vocal changes. I know of people who've had the surgery and came out of it perfectly fine and sing in choirs as they did post-op.However, you all seem to have serious issues with your singing voices. Is the scaring or dammage due to the breathing tube? Or is it due to the surgery itself?

a worried soon to be operated person...surgery date is Dec. 7th 09
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1108846_tn?1259593228
I had a TT on Aug 18,09. I have been a profesional Sax player and singer in small bands as part of my living for 40 years. I also love to sing. My ENT didn't think it would bother either one, No problems with playing the sax, but I lost some of the high range and quality in the beginning and found some info in a book how the Thyroid fluctuating against the back of the V chords helps the airflow through the chords enhancing the higher range. I since have been practicing with a deeper pull from my diaphram and made some great improvement. I have worked a few gigs since then,( I am 74 and pretty much only sub now) and the last one went well.      Tommy 74
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a hemi thyroidectomy on the 18/12/2008 so nearly a year to the day and my voice has still not come back fully, it does seem to have improved in very small bursts but I can't be heard above music and I can't shout without straining which is a nightmare as my other half is in a band and I go to watch with friends but I can't socialise and come across like i'm a quiet person when i'm not, it is really upsetting sometimes and it is a pain when you have to tell the story to every person you meet who can't hear you properly over crowded places etc.  I am really hoping that one day my voice will just spring back, I was told by my surgeon at the time that my vocal chords hadn't been touched so I have come to the conclusion that I am one of the 1% that this can happen to grrr!  Does anyone know if my voice could actually come back fully??  I personally never went back to have my vocal chords checked as I hate hopsitals and the thought of a tube up my nose and down my throat was enough to put me off so I have just been carrying on with the hope that things will improve!  People have told me that it is getting better as I sound louder but until I can speak above loud music or shout I know that my voice isn't back.  All I know is that I definately can't live the rest of my life like this! xxx
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1410393_tn?1281548469
I had the left side of my thyroid removed on July 15th 2010. Since surgery I have had a hoarse raspy voice... I hate it! I worked for a call center and have recently been let go from work because I can not perform my job because of my voice and being hard to breath when I am talking. And another job that I do is home parties, and unable to do that because of my voice as well. My surgeon said he tested my vocal nerves during surgery and that everything was fine...I honestly don't believe that or I would be able to talk louder than a whisper and I don't sound anything like myself. I am hardly understood when I am on the phone. I also have had a cough since my surgery as well. It does seem a little louder when I first wake up but by the time I go to bed, I can hardly hear myself think. LOL My kids love the fact that I can not yell at them, or at least they can't hear or understand what I am saying. I have to be within a few feet of someone to talk to them and I can't talk for very long without feeling like I can't breath.  It will be a month on the 15th and really hope this does not last much longer...I never thought I'd say it but I miss my own voice.
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Avatar_m_tn
I too had surgery 2 weeks ago. 9-9-2011.....and am terrified.  I can't barely talk above a soft voice.  I sound WEIRD. I am beside myself with worry.  The doctor says ONE thing..but I can't talk or breath..i run out of speech.  In a crowd..i am invisible. No one can hear me.  If there is an emergency...i'm going to be in trouble. I can't yell or scream.  I talk in hushed tones.  I am beside myself with worry.  First cancer and now this????  what to do....HELP!!!  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi a-soft_heart_55, has your voice gotten any better? My nan had a parathyroid removed a few days ago and is so upset because she now finds it a struggle to talk. I'm furious with the dr who performed the surgery because he said he's only human, these things can happen even though it is only a 1% chance. I'm just praying that she gets her voice back and that it doesn't bring her spirit down :-(  
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1823715_tn?1319389396
Hi Leish
I had a partial thyroidectomy back in July, and I was the same as others have said, raspy, soft low voice, and it felt tight and strained if I tried to reach high notes, I couldn't get much sound out if I tried to, but now it is fully back to normal, though I still get tired if I talk too much.
It is very early days for your Nan, but my heart goes out to you both, give it some time xxx
Nikki
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Nikki,
Thanks so much for your reply, I appreciate it :-)
I'm so glad your voice is back to normal. It must have been so frustrating for you! I was so mad at her Dr for playing it down. It gives me hope for her that I hear others have made a good recovery. Cheers x
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a total thyroidectomy on 10-27-11, and beforehand, my endocrinologist and surgeon, each in the biz for over 20 years, assured me that permanent voice damage is pretty rare.  The surgeon's surgical notes indicate that my vocal cords were intact when he finished the thyroidectomy.  It's been 8 days since the surgery and my voice seems to be getting worse.  For the past two days I've been talking in a whisper at the advice of a speech pathologist friend, in the hopes that my vocal cords or nerves will get a chance to heal, but my voice is getting worse even without using it.  I'm hoarse, my voice is deep and weird, it's exhausting to talk, and I can't produce any high sounds--when I try to it sounds like a kazoo, which would be funny if it weren't so sad.  I'm so frustrated/sad/disappointed.  I want my voice back. =o(
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a total thyroidectomy and removal of a parathyroid in May, 2007.  When I woke up, there was a surgeon standing there and he said, "Say anything".  I whispered "hello, how are you".  He said, "Thank God, we thought you might not be able to talk".  Thanks for the warning, guys.  I could only whisper for the first year.  It is now May, 2012.....5 years later.  I still have voice trouble.....throat feels tight, can't get too loud, can't yell or scream, get breathless when talking, can't talk on the phone for very long, sure can't sing.  There has been some slow improvement along the way, but pretty sure this is the best I'll be able to do.  I used to be outgoing and lively, but since the surgery I have changed due to my voice.  It certainly has been  a spiritual experience.  The radiation treatment damaged my salivary glands and my teeth.  Who knew this could happen?
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Avatar_f_tn
Omg! I had Thyroidectomy in July 2012. I am going through exatly what you are, to the tee. I have been so depressed and I now take anxiety meds. I havent had any voice and nothing works. I had weeks of speech therapy and nothing. very fustrating and thinking of seeking an attorney! I wasnt told i could lose my vocals all to gether. and i have same issues as swallowing and etc!
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Avatar_f_tn
I had my total thyroidectomy on Feb.19, 2013 and worried still with hoarseness , feels very tired and short of breath when talking and so afraid in case I go back to work and need to call out loud for help in case of emergency cases and I have no power to yell at all. No power to raise my voice.  I am a charge nurse and I've been suffering from low calcium as well as this constant cough as well as change in my voice that's been my main concern ,now that the surgery is all done.
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Avatar_m_tn
With your symptoms, I'd say that you need to test and verify your thyroid hormone levels, specifically Free T3 and Free T4 (not the same as Total T3 and T4).  Also, what thyroid med are you taking and what is the daily dose?  Last, since hypo patients frequently are too low in the ranges for Vitamin D, B12, and ferritin, have you tested for those as well?
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Avatar_m_tn
  I had a laryngoscopy in 1991 because I had four bleeding blood vessels, two on each vocal fold.  I did not continue my voice lessons and now I have lost four notes from my upper range and three from my lower range.  Please see a speech therapist who specializes with singers and people have jobs like yours that require talking a lot.  Dr. Richard Stasney in Houston, TX is an excellent ENT.  He treats all the opera singers in Houston.  Also, in Dallas, Texas, I would recommend Dr. Wayne R. Kirkham who specializes in singer's vocal disorders.  Every time you cough you are banging your vocal cords which causes swelling.  Hydrate with water at room temperature and stay away from ice cold drinks or hot caffeinated drinks, and caffeinated drinks period.  Caffeine dehydrates the body and causes your heart to race. Your speech therapist will teach you how to focus the voice at a more normal pitch level so that it will not be so hoarse.  Yelling and shouting at your kids will definitely damage your vocal cords.  So, do your best to change your discipline approach to less tension, and more quiet drawing close to them, making eye contact, and speaking at a normal pitch with lots of breath support.  Keep the correction short and to the point.  This will help you be less tense and focus more on loving them despite their wrongdoings.  After all, sometimes it is better to just pick your battles and overlook an offense unless it is chronic behavior.
I hope this encourages you a bit
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a total thyroidectomy and neck disection for thyroid cancer which had spead, in sept 2004, almost 10 years ago, and I still have a hoarse voice and an ache in my throat, I find some sounds difficult to make and still have numbness in my neck and jawline up to my ear.  I just thank goodness that I am alive.  I have just been diagnosed with recurrent disease, and am waiting on a decision as to what treatment is available for me now.  Dont worry about a hoarse voice, count your blessings you are alive and disease free.
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