Hoarseness

Hoarseness or Dysphonia most often results from an abnormality in the vocal cords (also called vocal folds), as well as other causes.

Hoarseness

Hoarseness or Dysphonia most often results from an abnormality in the vocal cords (also called vocal folds), as well as other causes.

What is Hoarseness (Dysphonia)

Dysphonia is an abnormal voice. It’s also called hoarseness. There are many causes of dysphonia. These are listed below. Voice changes can happen suddenly or slowly over time. A voice that is hoarse, raspy, dry, strained, weak, or breathy can be described as grave. Voice breaks can occur when the voice stops completely or cuts out. The patient may experience pitch changes that are either higher or lower. For a short time, the patient might experience a loss of their voice. The patient may complain of difficulty speaking or singing, and sometimes have trouble projecting their voice. Dysphonia most often results from an abnormality in the vocal cords (also called vocal folds), but other causes can include problems with airflow or structures of the throat that are near the vocal cords.

What are the Symptoms of Hoarseness (Dysphonia)?

Dysphonia symptoms may include:

  • Breaks and interruptions in speech are common every few sentences
  • Talking or swallowing can cause pain that is worsened by pain
  • Adductor dysphonia is characterized by a hoarse, grating voice that can sound strangled, strangled, or hoarse and stuttering
  • Strange sounding speech that is hard to understand
  • Gradual or sudden difficulty speaking
  • You may find the problem disappears if the person laughs, whispers, or sings in a high-pitched, loud voice
  • Muscle tone issues can also affect other areas of the body. For example, a writer’s cramp

Causes of Hoarseness (Dysphonia)

There are many causes of dysphonia. These are listed below in common categories. 

 

Inflammation:

  • Laryngitis: A swelling of the vocal cords due to overuse of the voice, or a viral infection
  • Allergies: Cough, post-nasal drip, and sneezing cause swelling of the vocal cords.
  • Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:This is a condition where stomach acid causes swelling and irritation to the delicate vocal cords and throat tissues.

Vocal cord growths:

  • Vocal chord nodules: Small calluses of the vocal cords due to overuse or injury caused by yelling
  • Vocal chord polyps: A small growth on the vocal chord that looks like a blister due to overuse or injury from yelling
  • Vocal chord cyst: A small growth that forms on the vocal cord and is usually filled with mucous. This causes a raspy and rough voice
  • Vocal chord papilloma: A small wart on the vocal cords caused by exposure to a particular virus called the human papillomavirus

Scarring of vocal cords:

  • Scarring can occur in the vocal cords due to trauma/injury or previous breathing tubes that were used for surgery or while the patient was on a ventilator

Paralysis of the vocal cord

  • A patient can either be born with a weak voice or have their vocal cords affected by nerve injuries. A weak or raspy voice is common in these patients

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