Common Voice Disorders

The vocal cords are the two folds of tissue in your larynx, and they form every word you speak. 

It’s likely you give little thought about how you control your voice until something goes wrong. That “something” can stem from swelling, paralysis, nerve problems, tissue growths, overuse, and even hormonal changes. 

When you have a voice disorder, you need a solution, particularly if your daily responsibilities rely on verbal communication. 

It’s time to turn to the experts at Lakeshore Ear, Nose, and Throat Center in the metropolitan Detroit area. Their team of otolaryngologists, speech pathologists, and other specialists can diagnose your condition and turn you toward the road to recovery. 

Signs of voice disorders

When your voice doesn’t sound or respond as you expect it, you have a disorder. Your symptoms could cover a wide range, including: 

  • Hoarseness, a rough or raspy sound
  • Wavering
  • Strained sounds, requiring excessive effort without result
  • Breathiness, usually producing a whispery or weak sound
  • Unexpected pitch jumps, up or down
  • Lower or higher pitch than normal

Your throat may feel sore along with these symptoms, or you could feel that there’s something in your throat. Tenderness when you touch your larynx is also common, or you may feel like your voice is tired. Swallowing could also be uncomfortable. 

Common voice disorders

The most common voice issues result from four things that happen to the vocal cords: swelling (called laryngitis), paralysis, spasms, or tissue growths. However, each of these disorders can in turn come from a variety of issues. 

Vocal cord swelling

Also known as laryngitis, swollen vocal cords make your voice sound hoarse and weak, or you may lose your voice completely. While most cases of laryngitis connect with respiratory infections, other common reasons are asthma inhalers, chronic coughing, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Treating the underlying cause generally clears the voice issue. 

Vocal cord paralysis

Surgical injury, cancer, or stroke can all cause partial or complete paralysis of the vocal cords, which can also result from a viral infection. The effects are usually temporary, but they can be permanent in some cases. Paralysis is typically treated with voice therapy or surgery, depending on the cause. 

Vocal cord spasms

Uncontrolled spasms of the vocal cords cause all manner of problems with your voice, including hoarseness, shakiness, pitch jumps, and tightness. You could be fine most of the time, then a spasm will hit. Vocal therapy and other treatments, including botulinum toxin injections, can control the spasms. 

Tissue growth

Cysts, papilloma, and nodules can all affect the tissue of the vocal folds. These growths interrupt the normal operation of your voice, and they can have many causes. Sometimes these form scar tissue, so your voice disorder persists. Treatment depends on the type of growth and its severity. 

Contact Lakeshore Ear, Nose, and Throat Center at the first sign of a voice disorder. One of their five locations is sure to be convenient, and you can book by calling your nearest office or requesting an appointment online. Schedule an exam today.