If you have changes in your voice’s volume, pitch, tone, and other qualities, you may have a voice disorder. Your voice is the sound produced by air from your lungs over two folds of tissue inside your voice box. As the air passes over these two folds of tissue (vocal cords), they vibrate; this is what makes speech. Below are examples of voice disorders Los Gatos and their causes.
Types of voice disorders
Laryngitis is an example of a voice disorder when your vocal cords swell, making your voice hoarse. Sometimes laryngitis may affect your ability to speak. Laryngitis that happens suddenly (acute laryngitis) is often caused by a virus in the upper respiratory tract and usually lasts a few weeks. Resting your voice and drinking plenty of liquids is often all you need to restore your voice to normal. Unlike acute laryngitis, which goes away after a few weeks, the chronic form of this disorder lasts a long time and may be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, using inhalers, or a chronic cough.
Vocal cord paralysis. As the name might suggest, this disorder occurs when the cords are paralyzed fully or partly. It can be due to several reasons, including stroke, cancer, a viral infection affecting the vocal cord nerves, or injury to a nerve during surgery. In many cases, vocal cord paralysis is permanent, but some people get better over time.
Spasmodic dysphonia causes vocal cords spasms, causing quivery, jerky, tight, groaning, or hoarse voice. If you have this disorder, your voice may sound normal at times, but you may not be able to speak at other times. Speech therapy and botulinum toxin injections to the vocal cords may help stop the spasms.
What causes voice disorders?
Usually, your vocal cords connect smoothly inside your larynx for normal speech. Therefore, anything that interferes with vocal cord movement or contact can cause problems in the quality of your voice. Voice disorders can stem from several factors, but sometimes the cause is unknown.
Possible causes of voice disorders include growths – extra tissues that may form on the vocal cords, affecting their normal function. Growths on the vocal cords may result from an illness, injury, or vocal abuse.
Inflammation and swelling due to allergies, respiratory illness, or surgery can cause voice disorders. Your vocal cords can also become inflamed due to smoking, alcohol abuse, certain medicines, and exposure to particular chemicals.
As previously mentioned, nerve problems in your vocal cords can also affect the quality of your voice. Health conditions affecting nerves controlling the vocal cords are possible causes; examples include Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Treatment for voice disorders
The appropriate treatment for a voice disorder depends on its cause. Treatment options range from simple lifestyle changes like rest and smoking cessation to injections and surgery. If your voice problem stems from acute laryngitis, lifestyle changes may be all you need to restore your voice. However, if your voice disorder stems from vocal cord paralysis or other nerve problems, you may need to work with a speech-language pathologist.
If you experience quivering, hoarseness, or any other changes in your voice quality, visit your specialist at Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center for diagnosis and treatment.