• Health & Wellness

    Professional broadcaster gets her voice back

Leslye Gale and her husband

Broadcaster Leslye Gale experienced gradual voice loss but was determined to tough it out on the air. Finally, in February 2024, her vocal folds had grown so weak that she had no voice at all.

Given that her job as an announcer for a radio station in Orlando keeps her on air for five hours each morning, this setback was more than a minor inconvenience — it also had the potential to affect her career.

Her condition worsened to the point that she saw local doctors in Central Florida. While her symptoms were quickly confirmed, she was unable to obtain a diagnosis.

That changed when Leslye came into contact with Dr. Amy Rutt, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor at Mayo Clinic in Florida who specializes in voice disorders.

"One of my listeners heard about what was going on with me, and called the station and urged me to see Dr. Rutt," she says.

The ENT team was able to get Leslye in for an appointment in just a few days. During her first visit, they identified that she had right vocal fold paralysis. At the time, she was just as stressed about her health as she was about the work she was missing.

"I had lost endorsements due to my inability to produce voiceovers," Leslye says. "This condition was affecting both my personal life and my professional life."

Getting answers

Leslye Gale

Dr. Rutt and Stacey Menton, speech pathologist, explained Leslye's condition to her in a way she could understand. They also presented her with options.

"Our goal is to help each individual get through their vocal recovery as seamlessly as possible while minimizing the emotional and financial impact on their life,” says Dr. Rutt, noting that even a mild voice disorder can cause big challenges to those who use their voices professionally — such as singers, voice actors, professors and radio hosts.

Following a quick procedure at Mayo Clinic, Leslye was able to get rehabilitative support, including telehealth appointments to conduct speech therapy video visits with Menton.

"We wanted Leslye to have the comfort of being in her own home — or even in her radio studio — and have the ability to sit and conduct face-to-face, personalized therapy," Menton says. "It has been a great approach so that she can have the benefits of in-person care while also experiencing the convenience of video visits when it makes sense."

Before long, Leslye's voice diction, strength and tone were the same as before she experienced vocal fold paralysis.

After recovering her voice, the first thing she did was tell her husband that she loved him. "The Mayo Clinic ENT team absolutely changed the game for me and got my quality of life back," Leslye says, noting a recent trip she and her husband made to see country music star Chris Stapleton perform. "Now I’m back, and I’m able to sing along."