Everyone has a voice…

The human voice is an amazing thing. It’s capable of making us laugh, cry, and feel a broad range of emotions. While it’s far from the only way to impart messages or portray emotions, our lives would be lacking if every person were to fall eternally silent. This makes the study of Voice Disorders so vital, as the discovery of new breakthroughs and the dissemination of both old and new research is of great benefit to society. In Fall 2016 McGill University educator Nicole Li-Jessen and her students took on this task of ensuring that the public has access to pertinent and updated information on this topic by editing Wikipedia, one of the most frequently accessed sites on the Internet.

Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is something that can have a negative effect on a person’s life and well-being. People who have this disorder can have symptoms that resemble other conditions like asthma and vocal cord paralysis, which make it difficult to make a timely and accurate diagnosis. Treatments for VCD can vary and run from behavioral to medical and psychological.

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box that typically lasts for a few weeks. Symptoms for this may vary in type and severity, with one of the most common symptoms being a hoarse voice. Laryngitis comes in two forms, acute and chronic. The former can be caused by viral, fungal, or bacterial infections or even trauma to the vocal cords. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “I’m going to yell myself hoarse”, this is the source of that reference. For those unfortunate enough to have chronic laryngitis, their inflammation can be caused by allergies and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. Reflux is something that may also cause chronic laryngitis, as the gastro-oesophageal reflux may irritate and inflame vocal cords, making it difficult to speak. Treatment for laryngitis depends heavily on the causes and severity, as treating the inflammation can include medication or may only require that the individual make several lifestyle changes until they’re better.

To quote the the Wikipedia article on Wikipedia, “Wikipedia is the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet”, which makes contributions from students and educators that much more important. Want to help share knowledge with the world? Contact Wiki Education at contact@wikiedu.org to find out how you can gain access to tools, online trainings, and printed materials to help your class edit Wikipedia. Or visit teach.wikiedu.org.

Image: File:Arts Building, McGill University, Montréal, East view 20170410 1.jpgDXR, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


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