Choir Director is back in tune

Friday, October 4, 2019
News 12 this Morning

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Saint Mark United Methodist Church Music director and Columbia County choral society member, Dr. J.B. Aiken is back in tune after losing his voice to a disease.

The composer and singer tells News 12 he can see his progress.

"Well I started a new position at Saint Mark United Methodist Church on June 1, 2019 and not long into my tenure there I sang one Sunday morning based on the response it was successful."

Dr. J.B. Aiken has been singing longer than he can remember but, last summer he says he thought his tenor days were over.

"The end of July, first of August, it was a Sunday morning because, I work in the church and I woke up and I was severely hoarse. I remember that morning having to sing everything an octave lower which is just bizarre."

After waiting a few weeks, Dr. Aiken finally visited a doctor.
He was soon diagnosed with, GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease; a disease affecting 15 to 30 percent of people.

"I went almost a year without being able to sing properly. I would try treating it with steroids and I treated it by trying to be quiet, going on vocal rest I want to see your allergies thinking it might be allergies but it wasn't," Dr. Aiken continues on about his journey with GERD.

When Dr. Aiken met, gastrologist, Dr. Sharma he found out about the non-surgical procedure, Stretta.
The procedure he owes for putting the harmony back in his voice.

Dr. Aiken explains the procedure.
"It's actually in the esophogus and radio waves strengthens it by shrinking the esophogus as if you're doing curls in the gym and your muscles strengthen up."

Dr. Amol Sharma, Gastrologist Augusta University adds,
"It stimulates the muscle with a little bit of heat energy and it helps woke up the muscle like Dr. Aiken mentioned. Making a robust barrier to help prevent Regurgitation and stomach contents are coming up,"