Most of us have had laryngitis in the past, perhaps from a cold or a cough, or maybe related to a sinus infections or bronchitis. It may have been after a night of too many drinks and too much loud music, or even from cheering at the little league game. NO doubt, your voice was back to normal within a few days.
A few days without your normal voice may be nothing more than a nuisance to most people, but to singers, actors, cantors, lawyers, public speakers, and television and radio announcers, this could result in the critical loss of a glowing review, a high-holiday service, a case, a debate, or even a job. Temporary voice loss in the professional voice and chronic vocal issues in all people can interfere with day-to-day function and the ability to make a living.
If you have a problem with your voice, it is imperative that not only do you see an otolaryngologist or ENT (ear, nose & throat specialist), but that you see one like Dr. Yagoda who specializes in care of the professional voice. Whether you are an adult, a teenager going through the voice changes associated with puberty, or a child, Dr. Yagoda can diagnosis and treat your voice disorder expertly and safely from her New York/ NYC/ Manhattan office.
Some of the most common voice disorders come not from the vocal cords themselves, but rather from conditions in the nose and throat that affect the voice indirectly. For example, nasal airway obstruction from a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates, allergies or chronic sinus disease affect airflow and mucous drainage. When the airflow is restricted, a voice user will tend to increase diaphragmatic pressure which may cause vocal cord polyps or Reinke’s edema.
Obstructions to free mucous drainage in the nose and sinuses result in a change in the consistency of the mucous. This thickened mucous becomes sticky and prevents the vocal cords from gliding freely past one another, which can result in poor note placement and “missing sounds” throughout the vocal range.
Another common condition that can negatively affect the voice is acid reflux. When acid from the stomach percolates up to the top of the food tube and into the larynx (voice box), it can spill onto the vocal cord joints or the vocal cords themselves and cause swelling. Typically, this causes a deepening of the speaking voice and pitch problems for the singer.
Common vocal cord problems include vocal cord polyps, nodules, and paradoxical vocal fold movement. Less common problems include vocal cord hemorrhage, paralysis, and spasmodic dysphonia.