The purpose of this memo is to propose a project to develop a device that will help people with hoarseness to communicate more clearly. Verbal communication is an important part of human interactions. Any conditions that affect the ability of an individual in speech affects the ability of such a person to communicate (Ulis, & Yanagisawa, 2009). Hoarseness is not an exception in this case. Severe cases of hoarseness render a person’s speech inaudible and limit the distance over which one can communicate vocally (Feierabend, & Malik, 2009).

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Hoarseness is a condition where a person produces abnormal sounds during speech mostly resulting from disorders in the vocal folds of the larynx. However, the condition can also result from other disorders such as laryngomalacia, an abnormal length of the epiglottis and abnormally high volumes of mucus. Traditionally, there are different methods used for the treatment of hoarseness. Most of these methods target the short term hoarseness. For example, medical personnel recommend the use of cough suppressants and humid air in the treatment of acute laryngitis which is also a cause of hoarseness. The condition results from an infection in the upper part of the respiratory tract. However, even if left untreated, the condition clears on its own. Furthermore, medical practitioners also recommend that the patients with hoarseness take a voice test in which they use their voice sparingly. The rest gives the vocal cords of the larynx time to heal.

While the above methods are useful in the treatment of short-term hoarseness, they are ineffective in the treatment of long-term hoarseness. The underlying causes of the long-term hoarseness are more severe. For example, laryngomalacia is a condition common in children in which the epiglottis has an unusual shape. While this condition often heals as the child grows older at around two years of age, the condition also occurs in some rare cases in adulthood. In such situations, the unusually shaped epiglottis becomes a permanent feature. In most cases, the epiglottis assumes an omega shape, and it blocks the entrance to the larynx leading to the production of unusual sounds during a speech. The corrective measures to treat such permanent condition also require to be permanent. Since medical treatment for the conditions is unsuccessful, designing a voice device that would treat the condition permanently is a great milestone.

The primary purpose of the memo is to propose the design of a device that shall help the people with hoarseness speak more clearly. To undertake the project to develop the device, it shall be necessary to have a clear understanding of the anatomy of the vocal tract (Pizzuto & Brodsky, 2000). The project proponent shall review a wide range of literature sources to identify how different factors cause hoarseness and the measures that can be taken to correct the defects. For example, the researcher shall identify the how laryngomalacia causes hoarseness so as to devise corrective measures. However, the device that the project will develop shall correct hoarseness resulting from a wide range of causes. Besides, the device shall also correct both short-term and long-term hoarseness. While long-term hoarseness occurs as a consequence of a permanent defect in the vocal tract, short term hoarseness often comes about owing to overuse of the vocal cords (Anke, Weidong, & Guiru, 2003). For example, often shouting results in voice hoarseness.

Hoarseness of the voice is an urgent condition requiring treatment. Indeed, a majority of people suffer from the condition, yet they receive minimal attention if any. Without doubt, developing the device shall help facilitate communication in society by enabling the people with hoarseness communicate more clearly. 

  • Anke, S., Weidong, D., & Guiru, W. (2003). Causes of Lasting Hoarseness and Its Original Factors Following Endotracheal Int ubation [J]. Journal of Audiology and Speech Pathology, 4, 013.
  • Feierabend, R. H., & Malik, S. N. (2009). Hoarseness in adults. American family physician, 80(4), 363-370.
  • Ulis, J. M., & Yanagisawa, E. (2009). What’s new in differential diagnosis and treatment of hoarseness?. Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery, 17(3), 209-215.