DETROIT – Henry Ford Health System is using the healing power of singing to help patients with voice disorders that result from various medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke and vocal cord paralysis to help improve their voices. Patients in a therapeutic choir called the Motor City Upbeats regain their vocal strength and range and breathing through a series of simple exercises and techniques taught in a welcoming, cheerful environment where just hearing the sound of your voice is music to the ears.
Singing may be the next-generation, noninvasive approach to determining the health of a patient’s thyroid. When a person sings, the vibrations create waves in the tissue near the vocal tract called shear waves. If a tumor is present in the thyroid, the elasticity of its surrounding tissue increases, stiffening, and causing the shear waves to accelerate. Using ultrasound imaging to measure these waves, researchers can determine the elasticity of the thyroid tissue. They demonstrate the technique in Applied Physics Letters.
Kym Scott, director of choral activities at West Virginia University, recognized the limitations of singing and performing in masks from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. So she tapped into her prior life as a fashion designer to solve a problem unforeseen by non-entertainers.