To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.

the cords in detail and study the wave as it occurs over the cords, he says. The good news is that recent information about how the voice works has transformed what doctors at the voice center can diagnose and treat today. While disease can contribute significantly to voice issues, that is not always the cause. Sometimes we do it to ourselves. Because the voice operates more-or-less on automatic pilot, without our having to think about it, we sometimes unknowingly put extra strain on our already hard-working vocal folds. We overburden our voices by talking a lot when we have a cold, or by smoking, or by yelling. Like an overworked muscle, the vocal cords can get tired and stiff and prone to injury. The result can be calluses, nodules, ulcers and other painful damage to our cords. That damage can show up years later. In fact, the center is seeing an “epidemic” of voice issues in people who survived the 1960s era of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, Dr. Berke says. Members of that cohort, now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, are being seen with throat cancers and other problems tied to the common sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), apparently contracted from risky behaviors in their free-wheeling youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2013 that each year about 8,400 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancers of the back of the throat that may be caused by earlier HPV infections. SINGER HARLEY JAY WAS CONVINCED HE OVERTAXED HIS VOICE while performing the lead role in the play Rent for two years, both on Broadway and on tour. It made sense; he was performing eight shows over six days each week. “It got to where we had to hide containers of water all over the stage because I’d have to keep sipping water to be able to get any notes out,” he recalls. Later, Jay cut back to singing his signature city- country style with a band for four or five nights a week. But by then his voice had become “impossible,” he says. “Sometimes my voice would crackle and crack and make horrendous sounds, or I’d open my mouth to sing and no sound would come out.” After a few years of putting up with it, he found his way to UCLA and Dr. Berke, who he vaguely remembered meeting years earlier. The news was not good. Dr. Berke’s examination showed that Jay had cysts and a hemorrhage, which meant that Jay had to stop talking entirely for four weeks until the hemorrhage cleared up. Only then could the cysts be surgically removed. In the fall of 2013, after a month of jotting messages on his cell phone and the nearest napkin or turning to his wife to be his voice, Jay underwent a three-hour operation. Six more weeks of silence — not even a whisper — followed. “Being unable to speak was depressing. I felt like a hermit,” Jay says. His old way of relieving stress was to drive around in his car and sing his heart out, but during recovery he had to learn other ways to cope. “I made videos on Instagram, and I wrote poetry — things you can do without a voice,” he says. After six weeks, he could talk again, but Dr. Berke forbade him to sing for another four weeks. For Jay, all the waiting was more painful than his healing vocal cords, which he says felt like a bad sore throat. Then the time finally arrived for him to sing. “I immediately scheduled a voice lesson and the results were so good that I hopped in my car and sang really hard,” he recalls. Jay says he now, at age 31, sounds better than he did when he was 20. “Since the surgery, my voice is not quite as gravelly, which [is a sound that] many rock singers may like. But, hey, I can sing like this for six hours a day. That sure beats being a gravelly singer who can sing only two hours a week,” he says. To show off his new, improved vocals, he plans to release an EP with his band in October 2014. Jerry and Ann Moss Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images WHY WE GIVE Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records, and his wife Ann funded the Ann and Jerry Moss Voice/Sound Studio at the UCLA Voice Center for Medicine and the Arts in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery. UCLA honored Ann and Jerry Moss at the UCLA Head and Neck Surgery Luminary Awards in 2014 for their philanthropic support of UCLA. “The Center provides a much-needed resource where people with voice disorders can improve their artistry and communication skills. INSIDE THE VOICE CENTER, NOSTALGIC PHOTOS of John Lennon and other rock ‘n’ roll artwork decorate the walls of the Westwood Boulevard offices. The atmosphere is homey and warm, in contrast to the gleaming state-of- the-art technology. All new patients receive a comprehensive evaluation that includes an analysis of speech and voice quality and a videostroboscopic examination of the larynx, designed to assess the motion and pliability of the vocal folds. Laryngeal electromyography is performed as needed. Then a comprehensive management plan is developed, which may include voice therapy, surgery or in-office or operative procedures. We are thrilled to be a part of this state-of-the-art facility specializing in voice medicine.” – Ann and Jerry Moss U MAGAZINE 23