What are the symptoms of voice disorders?
- Your voice has become hoarse or raspy.
- Your voice is weak or breathy.
- You’ve lost the ability to hit some high notes when singing.
- You speak in either too high or low pitch. Or there is change in the pitch of your voice.
- You have vocal fatigue.
- You feel a Lump in your throat while swallowing
When to visit an ENT surgeon?
- Hoarseness of voice for more than 2 weeks.
- Hoarseness associated with difficulty in swallowing or breathing.
- Hoarseness associated with bloody sputum.
- It becomes an effort even to talk.
- Unable to hit some high notes when singing.
- Urge to repeatedly clear your throat or foreign body sensation.
What are the causes of voice disorders?
For normal speech, your vocal cords need to touch together smoothly inside your larynx. This movement has to be synchronous. Anything that interferes with vocal cord movement or contact can cause a voice disorder. Also swelling of either one or both cords can give rise to changes in voice quality. Many voice disorders can be cured with medication when diagnosed early. Other require a surgical correction.
Voice disorders can be caused by many factors. In some cases, the cause of a voice disorder is not known. Possible causes can include:
Inflamation and swelling
Many things can cause inflammation and swelling of the vocal cords. These include infections, surgery, respiratory illness or allergies, some medicines, exposure to certain chemicals, smoking, alcohol abuse, or vocal abuse.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD)
Reflux of stomach acid into the throat can cause a variety of symptoms in the esophagus as well as in the throat. Hoarseness, swallowing problems, a lump in the throat sensation, or throat pain are common symptoms.
These may be benign like vocal nodules, polyps, cyst or cancerous giving rise to a hoarse voice.
Many cases of vocal paralysis are of unknown etiology. . Nerves can be injured from surgery, diseases of chest or some medical conditions.
Disorders affecting thyroid hormone, female and male hormones, and growth hormones can cause voice disorders.
Misuse of voice
The vocal cords can be stressed by using too much tension when speaking. . Examples of vocal abuse include too much talking, shouting, or coughing. Smoking and constant clearing of the throat is also vocal abuse.
Diagnosis of voice disorders
This suite consists of
- Laryngeal endoscopy, using flexible or rigid Hopkin’s endoscopes.
- Flexible Nasopharyngo-laryngoscope with chip on tip technology.
Procedure available in voice lab:
Hopkins’s diagnostic Laryngoscopy and Video Laryngoscopy– Laryngeal video-endoscopy provides information about vocal fold structure and gross function and anomalies if any. It is used to diagnose and document voice and laryngeal disorders, It is very useful to record the video and still images in the documentation for routine follow-up.
Video Stroboscopy– Video-stroboscopy is a state-of-the-art technique that provides a magnified, slow motion view of the vocal cord vibration. Minute vocal fold lesions which are not appreciable by normal mirror/ videolaryngoscopic examination are easily diagnosed. It can be also used to asses voice pre & post therapeutic procedure.
Tips to prevent voice problem
- Drink plenty of water. Six to eight glasses a day.
- Limit your intake of drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine,
- Use a humidifier in your home.
- Avoid or limit use of medications that dry out the vocal folds, including some common cold and allergy medications.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet:
- Don’t smoke.
- Avoid eating spicy foods.
- Get enough rest. Physical fatigue has a negative effect on voice.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid mouthwash or gargles that contain alcohol or irritating chemicals.
Use your voice wisely:
- Avoid overuse of your voice.
- Rest your voice when you are sick.
- Avoid using the extremes of your vocal range, such as screaming or whispering.
- Support your voice with deep breaths from the chest.
- Avoid cradling the phone between the head and shoulder for extended periods of time while talking.
- Consider using a microphone when appropriate.
- Avoid talking in noisy places.