I find it extremely rewarding to be able to treat a bus driver who’s out of work because a paralyzed vocal cord prevents him from calling out the next stop, or a young opera singer experiencing vocal fatigue because of reflux.
(PRWEB) October 17, 2012
On any given day, Dr. J. Michael King never knows who’s going to walk in the door of Peak ENT and Voice Center, which he recently opened with offices in Broomfield and Golden, both suburbs of Denver. “I might treat a newborn who’s tongue tied and can’t nurse properly, a Down syndrome teenager born with small ear canals who can’t hear simply because of wax impaction, or a father of three young children who just learned he has throat cancer,” he explained. As an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), Dr. King is especially passionate about treating people who are having vocal difficulties.
“We take our voice for granted, until we lose it,” said Dr. King. “A weak, breathy, hoarse, scratchy, strained, or graveled voice often indicates a problem. These symptoms can cause people to be embarrassed about how they sound and can also affect their current job or future career,” he said. “I find it extremely rewarding to be able to treat a bus driver who’s out of work because a paralyzed vocal cord prevents him from calling out the next stop, or a young opera singer experiencing vocal fatigue because of reflux.”
Dr. King, a Colorado native, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado Boulder and his medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University. He is a board-certified otolaryngologist, head and neck surgeon. In addition to treating the full spectrum of ear, nose, and throat disorders, Dr. King is also a fellowship-trained laryngologist, having studied with the eminent Dr. Blake Simpson, at the University of Texas San Antonio, known as a pioneer in the treatment of voice and vocal disorders.
“Having the experience and good fortune to train with Dr. Simpson has been invaluable to me,” said Dr. King. “We treated the gamut of vocal issues using some of the most advanced technology and procedures available.”
The field of laryngology has advanced significantly in the past decade, allowing specialists like Dr. King to perform procedures in their offices that previously required a more complicated and longer visit to the operating room. “With the right technology and training,” said Dr. King, “it’s pretty remarkable what we’re capable of doing now without the need for sedation.”
Dr. King is one of only a few physicians in the Western region of the country who uses lasers in his office to perform surgeries of the throat without anesthesia. “I can treat a pre-cancerous or early vocal cord cancer in the office using a laser, and an hour later the patient can drive back to work,” he said. He can remove a polyp from a vocal cord, inject Botox for spasmodic dysphonia, and restore a paralyzed vocal cord. The more complicated cases—those that need to be done under general anesthesia for tumors or airway obstruction—he performs in the hospital or a surgery center as an outpatient procedure.
Pop singers like Adele and John Mayer, and opera singers like Denyce Graves and Suzanne Mentzer, are doing their part to shed light on the effective procedures and techniques specialists like Dr. King perform by being public about their vocal problems, especially when extended vocal rest is required. Voice teachers and vocal coaches are becoming better trained, too, in understanding anatomy and physiology and being able to recognize medical conditions that affect singers.
“As a voice teacher, I sometimes hear hoarseness or strain in a student's voice; the sooner the student can see an ENT for diagnosis and treatment, the better,” said Bonnie Draina, DMA, who runs a prominent voice studio in Boulder. “Dr. King provides compassionate and careful evaluation in a timely manner. He communicates his findings to me directly, enabling a coordinated response to the situation and the possibility of a faster recovery for the singer.”
Communication and education are important components of Dr. King's practice because, he explained, "voice disorders can sometimes be overlooked. When voice professionals know the signs to watch for, they are more likely to seek help promptly and have a faster, more complete recovery."