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Allergies and the Voice
Dr. C. Gaelyn Garrett
Voices6/1/2004

Editor's Note: This volume of Voices offers important information on the care and maintenance of your most important tool — your voice. We’ve invited expert physicians from the field — doctors recommended to us and used by our OPERA America member companies — to share their knowledge with you. In the following article, vocal health expert C. Gaelyn Garrett, M.D. of the Vanderbilt Voice Center explores the effects of allergies on the voice and gives recommendations for treatment.

Advisory Note:
Patient education material presented here does not substitute for medical consultation or examination, nor is this material intended to provide advice on the medical treatment appropriate to any specific circumstance.


Healthy voice use should first begin with a basic understanding of voice production. Normal voicing begins with airflow from the lungs moving past the vocal folds (also known as vocal cords), triggering vibration and resultant sound. The sound is then modulated by the structures above the vocal folds, which include the tongue, mouth, lips, and nasal and sinus cavities, producing what we recognize as the human voice.

About the Author: C. Gaelyn Garrett, M.D. began her career with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a fellow in the Department of Otolaryngology in 1994. Following her fellowship, she was invited to join the distinguished staff of the Department of Otolaryngology where she has excelled in the field of laser surgery, care of the professional voice, and laryngology. Dr. Garrett has served in various capacities on many national committees, boards, and societies, including the councils of the American Laryngological Association and the Triological Society. She is a senior examiner for the American Board of Otolaryngology. She has been involved in multiple research projects and has held various lectureships in America and abroad, including the national meeting of the Sweden Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery in Stockholm. As medical director of The Vanderbilt Voice Center, Dr. Garrett oversees the operation of a nationally renowned treatment center for laryngology and care of the professional voice. She has been a faculty participant in many instructional courses including Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Garrett is also on the staff of St. Thomas and Veterans Hospitals in Nashville. She is currently licensed in the state of North Carolina as well as Tennessee.

Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
  • From Gold Rush to Google
  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
  • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
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