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Voice Disorders


The Care of the Professional Voice Division has been organized to diagnose and treat a wide variety of voice disorders that affect both voice professionals and the general public.

Symptoms of voice disorders can range from hoarseness to vocal fatigue and even pain in and around the throat. Examples of the disorders that are treated at the voice center include:

Vocal Nodules (also called Singer’s Nodes, Screamer’s Node)

Vocal fold nodules are also known as “calluses of the vocal fold.” They appear on both sides of the vocal folds, typically at midpoint, and directly face each other. Like other calluses, these lesions often diminish or disappear when the overuse or trauma to the area is discontinued.

Vocal Polyps and Mass Legions

A vocal fold polyp typically occurs only on one side of the vocal fold and can occur in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending upon the nature of the polyp, it can cause a wide range of voice disturbances.

Vocal Fold Movement Disorders – Paralysis

Vocal fold (or cord) paresis and paralysis result from abnormal nerve input to the voice box muscles (laryngeal muscles). Paralysis is the total interruption of nerve impulse resulting in no movement of the muscle; Paresis is the partial interruption of nerve impulse resulting in weak or abnormal motion of laryngeal muscle(s).

Vocal Fold Bowing

The vocal folds should come together completely and be pliable in the mid portion of the fold to vibrate efficiently. Sometimes the fold becomes thins, due to the aging process, and loses bulk in the middle. This can also occur when one or both of the vocal fold muscles atrophy after a paresis or paralysis.


When we eat something, the food reaches the stomach by traveling down a muscular tube called the esophagus. Once food reaches the stomach, the stomach adds acid and pepsin (a digestive enzyme) so that the food can be digested.

Chronic Hoarseness

Hoarseness is a general term that describes abnormal voice changes When hoarse, the voice may sound breathy, raspy, strained, or there may be changes in volume (loudness) or pitch (how high or low the voice is). The changes in sound are usually due to disorders related to vocal folds that are the sound producing parts of the voice box (larynx). While breathing, the vocal cords remain apart. When speaking or singing, they come together, and as air leaves the lungs, they vibrate, producing sound. Swelling or lumps on the vocal folds prevent them from coming together properly and changes the way the folds vibrate, which makes a change in the voice, altering quality, volume, and pitch.

Muscle Tension Dysphonia

Muscle tension dysponia is characterized by a strain of the larynx due to inappropriate use of the muscles above and around the vocal folds. By straining, squeezing, and pushing those muscles inappropriately, the vocal folds are unable to function properly. Common in people that use their voice frequently, symptoms of muscle tension dysphonia include rough or hoarse voice, sense of strained or effortful voice, voice which gets worse with progressive use and throat pain with voice use. Muscle tension dysphonia may exist without any structural damage of the vocal folds and may be missed on routine exam unless an exam of function reveals the muscle strain surrounding the vocal folds.

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