Vocal Science: Vocal Cord Problems That Cause Speaking and Singing Voice Disorders
Voice or vocal cord problems generally include pain and, overall, discomfort when you speak or have difficulty controlling the pitch, volume and quality of your voice overall, and your singing voice in particular.
It may sound a little surprising, but a variety of medical conditions may indeed be very much the cause of most voice/vocal cord problems. The most common causes of hoarseness (generally speaking) are the vocal difficulties outlined below.
Some of the more common vocal cord problems include vocal nodules, vocal polyps, vocal cord paralysis, laryngitis and nevertheless, GERD.
Laryngitis & GERD are often defined by a raspy/hoarse voice because of the significant irritation of the vocal cords. Overuse or misuse of the voice, inhaled irritants, or GERD reflux (the backup of stomach acid into the throat) may be one of the big reasons for it.
Vocal Cord Nodules are (most of the time) benign or non-cancerous growths on the vocal cords, generally caused by repetitive overuse or misuse of the vocal anatomy. Those nodules are a frequent problem for professional singers. The nodules are small and callous-like growths which develop in the midpoint of the vocal folds. These nodules sometimes form in pairs on the vocal cord(s) areas that receive the most pressure when they come together and touch and thus vibrate. They induce the vocal cord problems and make your voice sound breathy, hoarse, low in tone and nevertheless, low in volume.
Vocal Polyps are small, soft growths that usually occur only on one side of the vocal cord in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the nature of the polyp, it can cause a wide range of voice disturbances.
Paralysis of the Vocal Cords occurs when the nerve impulses to your voice box are disrupted. As a common vocal cord problem, this condition can range from very mild to life-threatening. When one or both vocal cords are paralyzed, they can affect your capability to speak or even breathe. A person may also feel discomfort while coughing and swallowing.
Vocal cord disorders caused by abuse or misuse of voice are preventable. In fact, most vocal cord disorders can be reversed. The non-surgical treatment for your voice problem(s) may include the following:
• Resting your voice
• Eliminating the behaviour that caused the vocal cord disorder(s) - yelling, screaming, singing improperly using the inadequate technique, consuming unhealthy substances etc.
• Visit an alternative speech therapist/alternative voice specialist who has specialized experience and expertise in treating voice, speech, swallowing and other disorders that greatly affect communication.
• A non-invasive method of treating growths on the vocal cords known as non-surgical voice repair, combined with the use of specially and individually selected natural herbs and some homeopathic remedies