Whenever I pick up a book, the first thing I do is look at the authors and see if I recognise any. The senior author of this book is Bob Sataloff – he needs no introductions when it comes to voice and laryngology. The other, less well-known authors in ENT circles are Deborah Rosen, a psychologist working within voice, and Johnathan Sataloff, a psychiatry resident. The combination of these makes for a well-rounded book.
The book is 411 pages, which is not long for a medical textbook. As written in the preface, it is more aimed at mental health professionals rather than voice specialists or other allied health professionals. However, running a tertiary voice clinic, I do agree with their statement that voice disorders can have a profound impact on the psychological wellbeing of patients (and vice versa).
There are 20 chapters ranging from anatomy and physiology, and psychoactive medications to stress management and performance anxiety. The anatomy and physiology chapter was a succinct reminder and definitely worth a read, if only as a recap.
I particularly enjoyed reading the psychoactive medications chapter – many of our patients are on these medications and reading an evidence-based chapter which splits the medications into type, e.g. SSRI, tricyclic etc, and the mechanism by which it can affect the voice was something I realised personally I have not been paying enough attention to.
The chapter on common medical diagnoses is a simple chapter that highlights the common voice diagnoses and would be suitable for giving trainees a quick rundown on some basic voice pathology. It is basic in the sense that it is aimed at psychologists, but this basic level is a good introduction.
The final chapter is titled ‘perceived voice loss in professional voice users’. This chapter uses case studies and really pulls the book together. The appendix at the end contains a few psychological assessment tools and, whilst these will be second nature to psychologists and psychiatrists, they are useful for the non-mental health physicians, especially when wanting to include key pieces of information if making an onward referral to mental health services.
In summary, whilst this book is not, in my opinion, a core text for an ENT or voice physician, it is a very interesting read and is an eye opener to the different but very much interconnected world of psychology in voice. I don’t think this book will substantially change my practice but will make me more aware and have a better understanding of voice problems that may have a psychological component, and also understand better what psychological problems voice issues can cause.