What are voice disorders?
Voice disorders include issues in different aspects of voice production, such as problems with voice quality, pitch, or loudness. For the production of normal voice, the vocal cords should be able to approximate properly with each other, have proper shape and size, and be able to vibrate adequately with changes in pitch and loudness. Problems in the vocal cords, or the systems responsible for voice production causes different types of voice disorders.
What causes voice disorders?
Inflammation and swelling of the vocal cords can be caused due to infections, exposure to certain chemicals, smoking, alcohol, and vocal abuse. It can make the voice sound hoarse or rough. In some cases, there may be some extra growth on the vocal cords that can include cysts, papillomas, nodules, small areas of chronic inflammation called granulomas, and small blister like polyps. These growths can stem from a variety of causes including injury, cancer, vocal abuse, or other illnesses. Central medical conditions can affect the nerves responsible for supplying the vocal cords or the larynx. These can include conditions like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, or can occur due to trauma/injury, which can cause vocal cord paresis or paralysis. Hormonal problems can cause inappropriate voice production in terms of pitch in both males and females. Vocal misuse or abuse is when the vocal cords are being used inappropriately and being strained or overused. This can cause the vocal cords to develop polyps or nodules that changes the quality of voice, making it hoarse or breathy. Severe cases can lead to haemorrhage
Diagnosis and Management
After a detailed review of individual history, an examination of the vocal cords and larynx is necessary. This may include a laryngoscopy and stroboscopy to view the vocal cords and assess its movement, and imaging tests to check for additional growths and other tissue problems in the throat. Treatment plans vary according to the cause of voice disorder, but it may include certain lifestyle and dietary changes to maintain vocal hygiene, medications and/or injections, surgery if required in cases of growths or tumors, and voice therapy to improve the production of voice.