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Voice Disorder - FAQs
Q:What is a voice disorder?
A:Voice is the sound produced by movement of the vocal folds or vocal cords located in the larynx (LAR-inks), commonly called the voice box. Voice is produced when the vocal folds vibrate rapidly as air is exhaled from the lungs. The vocal folds can stretch or shorten to raise or lower the pitch. A voice disorder occurs when the quality, pitch or loudness calls attention to itself rather than to what the speaker is saying. It is also a problem if the speaker experience pain or discomfort when speaking or singing.
Q:What are some common voice disorders?
A:Vocal nodules, polyps, or nodes are different types of growths on the vocal folds. They cause changes in voice quality such as hoarseness or breathiness.
Q:What causes voice disorders?
A:There are numerous causes including prolonged misuse of the voice, using a pitch that is too low or high, excessive drinking or smoking, upper respiratory infections and neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or stroke. Tumors and cancers of the larynx can also produce voice disorders and reflux has been known to affect the voice if untreated.
Q:When does a change in voice require professional help?
A:If you have hoarseness, voice change or discomfort that lasts more than 10 days, you should see your physician or an otolaryngologist.
Q:How do Speech Pathologists help?
A:After you consult your doctor, you may seek the services of a speech pathologist to avoid voice misuse, learn good voice habits and retrain use of your voice. Some voice problems can be managed by a combination of medical or surgical treatment and voice therapy with a speech pathologist.