We’ve all experienced hoarseness from common colds, allergies, bronchitis, exposure to irritants, or cheering on our favorite sports team but when hoarseness does not resolve on its own in a week or two or frequently recurs for no clear reason, a voice disorder may be present and require medical attention.
Symptoms of Voice Disorders commonly include
- Chronically hoarse, rough or raspy voice
- Catching or frequent breaks in voice
- Feeling of a lump or something in the throat
- decreased pitch range
- voice and generalized fatigue
Different Types of Voice Disorders include
- Vocal Cord Nodules and Polyps – Although typically noncancerous, abnormal growths of tissues called nodules and polyps can grow on vocal cords. They are usually a sign of vocal cord overuse/abuse. Repeated abuse of the vocal cords causes swelling on the cords which can then prompt the growth of hard, callous-like growths called nodules. Nodules can become larger and stiffer the longer the vocal abuse continues.
- Vocal Cord Paralysis – Vocal paralysis can result in one or both vocal cords becoming stuck between being open and closed (the paramedian position). When this occurs, the individual will run out of air easily and cannot speak clearly or loudly.
- Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement – This condition occurs when the vocal cords behave normally most of the time, but occasionally they close when they should open, such as when breathing. PVFM can cause a wheezing sound and even lead to difficulty breathing to the point of requiring hospitalization.
- Spasmodic Dysphonia – Spasmodic dysphonia occurs when the movement of the vocal cords are strained, jerky, quivery, or tight. It often results in a hoarse, rough or groaning voice. Vocal interruptions or spasms, periods of no sound (aphonia), and periods when there is near normal voice are common. Symptoms are more common in women and often worse when a person is tired or stressed. Surprisingly, they may be greatly reduced or even disappear when singing or laughing.
Voice disorders are a common complaint we address here at our ENT office. If you have chronic hoarseness or other difficulty with your voice, contact us today. We are here to help!