What is a voice disorder?
A voice disorder involves problems with pitch, volume, tone and other qualities of the voice. These problems occur when the vocal cords don’t vibrate normally.
Common voice disorders include:
- Laryngitis – when the vocal cords swell, causing hoarseness or inability to speak.
- Vocal cord paresis or paralysis – when the vocal cords are paralyzed or partially paralyzed.
- Spasmodic dysphonia – a nerve problem that causes the vocal cords to spasm, making the voice sound tight, quivery, jerky, hoarse or groaning.
What causes a voice disorder?
Anything that interferes with vocal cord movement or contact can cause a voice disorder. Possible causes include:
- Inflammation and swelling
- Nerve problems
- Misuse of the voice
What are common symptoms of a voice disorder?
If you have a voice disorder, your voice may:
- Have a quivering sound
- Sound rough or hoarse
- Sound strained or choppy
- Sound weak, whispery or breathy
- Sound too high or low or change pitch
You may also experience pain or feel like your voice box is tired. You may also feel a lump in your throat when swallowing or feel pain when you touch the outside of your throat.
How do you diagnose a voice disorder?
An office visit and physical exam, as well as some diagnostic testing, will help determine whether you have a voice disorder. Tests include: laryngoscopy, laryngeal electromyography (EMG), stroboscopy, and imaging (X-ray or MRI).
How do you treat a voice disorder?
Treatment varies depending on the cause of the voice disorder and ranges from lifestyle changes and speech therapy to medicine, injections and/or surgery.
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To learn more about Gwinnett ENT or schedule an appointment, call 678-312-7390 or schedule online.