Any number of things can cause your voice to change. Most causes will resolve on their own with simple at-home remedies but some are a sign of something more severe.
Vocal abuse, which occurs when you use your voice too much or incorrectly, can cause soft swollen spots to form on the vocal cords. Slowly these spots can develop into hard growths called nodules. If left untreated, the nodules will continue to grow larger and stiffen. Polyps are created in the same way, except instead of creating hard growths they are blister-like and can grow faster and larger.
These growths can cause hoarseness and a lump-in-the-throat sensation. In order to diagnose a growth on the vocal cord your doctor will review your medical history and complete a full physical exam, including a voice evaluation. An endoscope may be used to get a closer look at the vocal cords. This procedure involves inserting a thin lighted instrument down your nose or throat.
Treatment for these growths depends on their size and age. Large or old growths may be removed surgically. Behavioral intervention, specifically learning good vocal hygiene in order to prevent additional vocal abuse, is usually recommended for newer and smaller growths.
Paradoxical vocal fold movement (PVFM) is a voice disorder that is commonly misdiagnosed as asthma. Those with this condition will have working vocal cords most of the time. During an episode their vocal cords will close when they should be open; this causes wheezing and difficulty breathing.
In order to diagnose this condition your doctor will review your medical history, perform a physical exam and use an endoscope to get a closer look at your vocal cords. A voice evaluation may also be performed.
The treatment for PVFM is based on determining your triggers. These can include shouting, cold air or irritants. Knowing your triggers can help prevent future episode.
If you notice a change in your voice contact our office at 337-266-9820 to schedule an exam.
Hoarseness is an abnormal change in your voice. This change can be in the volume or pitch and may cause the voice to sound breathy, raspy or strained. Typically, hoarseness is caused by a vocal cord disorder, such as acute laryngitis or vocal abuse. In most situations the hoarseness will resolve on its own with simple home remedies such as drinking plenty of fluids and resting your voice. If it does not resolve you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will review your medical history, complete a physical exam and inspect your vocal cords with the use of an endoscope.
Vocal cords, also known as vocal folds, are part of our sound creating process. The vocal cords sit on top of the windpipe. When air is pushed through the lungs it passes between the open vocal cards, causing them to vibrate. This creates a buzzing sound. The buzzing is then passed through the throat, nose and mouth where it is changed into speech. If something happens to the vocal cords, such as paralysis or a growth, your voice will change. This often results in hoarseness or an inability to speak loudly.