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Disorders of the voice: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Dec 26, 2023

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Causes Of Voice Disorders

Symptoms Of Voice Disorders

Risk Factors Of Voice Disorders

Diagnosis Of Voice Disorders

TreatmentOf Voice Disorders


Disorders of the voice Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Disorders of the voice in people can have many causes. Voice disorders are defined as changes in voice quality. Diagnosis and treatment of voice issues is carried out by speech-language pathologists and medical specialists trained in disorders of the nose, throat, and ears.

Treatment options vary depending on what is causing the voice change. Treatment options include surgery, medicine, injections, and voice therapy.

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Causes Of Voice Disorders

The voice box, also known as the larynx, is made up of smooth tissue, muscle, and soft, moist sections. The base of the tongue and the top of the windpipe, commonly known as the trachea, are home to the voice box. Vocal cord vibrations make sound.

As air moves through the voice box, the vocal cords vibrate and become closer together. The voice cords also help close the voice box, keeping you from breathing in food or drink after you've swallowed it.

Vocal chords that enlarge, become inflamed, expand, or become immovable cannot operate normally. A vocal problem could arise from any of these.

Typical voice abnormalities include the following:

  • Laryngitis
  • The neurological and brain-related abnormalities of voice known as spasmodic dysphonia
  • Growths on the vocal cords that are not cancerous include polyps, nodules, or cysts.
  • Malignant and precancerous growths
  • Vocal cord weakness or paralysis
  • Leukoplakia.

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Symptoms Of Voice Disorders

There is a broad spectrum of symptoms that can result from vocal problems. This is how your voice might sound:

  • Wet or gurgling.
  • Rough, strained, harsh, or raspy.
  • Stifled or breathless.
  • Excessively high or low.
  • Overly loud or excessively quiet.
  • Erratic or uneven, with noticeable pauses or interruptions.

Also Read: Perforated Eardrum: Functions, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Risk Factors Of Voice Disorders

Several factors can lead to a voice issue, such as:

  • Aging
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Illnesses related to hypersensitivity that impact the brain and nervous system, such as Parkinson's disease or stroke
  • Infections of the upper respiratory tract or colds ailments such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Scars from neck surgery or injuries to the front of the neck shouting
  • Using tobacco
  • Throat cancer
  • Throat dehydration thyroid problems
  • Misuse or excessive use of voice

Also Read: Fungal Sinusitis: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis Of Voice Disorders

During the examination, your doctor will ask you about any vocal problems you may be experiencing. Your healthcare practitioner might give you a numbing drug before the exam. Your provider might make use of one or more of the following instruments:

  • Mirror: Your healthcare provider may put a dental mirror or another instrument into your mouth. It is lengthy and features an inclined mirror.
  • A flexible laryngoscope: This bendable tube has a built-in light and camera. A provider uses their nose to introduce it.
  • Stiff laryngoscope: A medical expert inserts this stiff viewing tube into the mouth.
  • Videostrobe: A camera and flashing light allow us to view the vocal cords moving in slow motion.

A medical expert may also use the following tests:

  • Sound analysis: During this evaluation, any irregularities in the tone of the voice chords are measured using a computer.
  • Electromyography of larynx: into tiny needles put into the skin, the electric currents in the muscles of the voice box are measured.

Also Read: Tonsillitis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

TreatmentOf Voice Disorders

Based on your diagnosis, your healthcare provider might suggest one or more of the following treatments:

  • Rest, drinks, and voice therapy: The vocal cords need to be rested and kept hydrated regularly, just like any other body part. Speech-language pathologists teach kids how to drink the appropriate amount of water, clear their throats, and use their voices more effectively.
  • Allergic cures: If an allergy is causing an excessive amount of mucus in the throat, a medical practitioner can determine the cause of the allergy and treat it.
  • Stop Smoking: Quitting smoking improves many aspects of health, including voice quality. For example, it can strengthen heart health and lower the risk of cancer.
  • Medical attention: Numerous drugs can be used to treat anomalies in voice. Depending on the underlying cause of the voice disorder, medication can reduce edema or inflammation, stop blood vessel regrowth, or treat stomach reflux. Medication can be injected into the voice chords, applied topically, or taken orally during the operation.


  • Getting rid of growths: Even in cases when growths on the vocal cords are not malignant, surgery can be necessary to remove them. A surgeon can remove growths using microsurgery, carbon dioxide laser surgery, and other laser treatments such as potassium titanyl phosphate (KTP) laser treatment.
  • The state-of-the-art technique for treating vocal cord lesions is the KTP laser treatment, which stops the growth's blood supply. This allows much of the underlying tissue to be preserved when the growth is removed.
  • Injections: Botulinum toxin injections under the skin of the neck, administered in small doses, can help avoid aberrant motions and muscular spasms. This drug treats a movement problem that is neurological or brain-related. This condition, also referred to as spasmodic dysphonia, affects the vocal muscles of the larynx.

Sometimes one vocal cord can become rigid. Hoarseness could be caused by a single vocal cord paralysis. Drinking liquids can also result in choking. It rarely causes issues while attempting to swallow solid food, though. Occasionally, the problem eventually gets resolved on its own.

If the problem continues, one of two methods can be employed to reposition the paralyzed vocal cord towards the middle of the windpipe. With either method, the voice chords might converge and vibrate closer together. This allows the larynx to close while swallowing and improves voice quality. 

Among the remedies are:

  • Fat or collagen injections: The paralyzed vocal cord can be given volume by injecting body fat or collagen produced by humans through the skin of the neck or mouth. It also treats vocal cord weakness.
  • Thyroplasty-In this method a little opening is created in the cartilage, the tissue that envelops the voice box. The surgeon makes an incision, inserts an implant, and presses it up against the paralyzed vocal cord.

Also Read: Laryngeal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

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