Sebastian Coe is receiving treatment for a problem with his vocal cords after a Radio 4 listener contacted the station to express concern over his “gravelly” voice.
Lord Coe, the president of World Athletics, had been speaking to the Today programme’s Garry Richardson about the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
The interview prompted an email from a retired GP, which led to Lord Coe seeing an ear, nose and throat doctor.
He said it was an “act of kindness”.
On hearing the interview in December, the retired doctor emailed the programme immediately, and said: “If he or especially family and friends feel his voice has altered over any time, more than three to four weeks, he should see his GP for an ENT referral so that a specialist can look at his vocal cords, to make sure there are no significant or alarming changes.”
Her comments were passed straight to Lord Coe, who said he was “slightly perturbed”.
He visited specialist Peter Valentine, from Guildford, in Surrey.
“It was obvious when he spoke to me for the first time that he had an issue with his voice, in the sense that it was rough and gravelly,” Mr Valentine said.
“What I was able to do was examine Seb using a nasendoscope, which is a small flexible optic fibre that we pass through the nasal passages to go to the back of the throat.”
Mr Valentine discovered a throat condition which is now being treated with speech therapy.
Lord Coe said: “It’s almost like being back in training because you’re sort of working on muscularity, and all sorts of things and learning to breathe properly and through your diaphragm.”
He warned other people to speak to a doctor if they find “alarming symptoms”.
“Don’t be stoic and brave and not say anything about it,” he added.