At Miya & Torchinsky ENT we offer treatments for a variety of voice disorders. Most alterations in the voice are a result of a medical disorder. If left untreated, hoarseness and more serious complications may occur.
Usually caused by an infection, Laryngitis is the swelling of the vocal cords. A “cold”, which is a viral infection, is the number one leading cause for an infection of the voice box. The swelling of the vocal cords causes them to vibrate differently, leading to hoarseness. Resting and staying hydrated are the best treatments for Laryngitis. Antibiotics are not effective since most of these infections are viral. When you suffer from laryngitis it is important to take care of your voice. The swelling can increase your risk of blood in the vocal cords or the formation of vocal cord polyps, nodules, or cysts.
Vocal Cord Lesions
Lesions on the vocal cord(s) alter vocal cord vibration, resulting in hoarseness and a chronic alteration in one’s voice quality. These noncancerous growths on the vocal cords form with voice misuse or overuse and from injury to the vocal cords. The most common lesions are called vocal nodules, or “singer’s nodes”. These nodes are very similar to calluses on the vocal cords. Treatment for vocal cord lesions usually includes rest and/or speech therapy to train speaking technique to relive trauma to the vocal cords. Polyp(s) or cyst(s) are other types of vocal cord lesions that most likely require to be removed surgically after nonsurgical treatments have failed.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease
Reflux of stomach acid into the throat can cause a range of symptoms in the esophagus and throat. Swallowing problems, a different body sensation, throat pain, or hoarseness are all common symptoms of gastric acid irritation of the throat, known as laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD). Since nearly half of all patients that suffer from LPRD have no heartburn symptoms that accompany gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), LPRD is tough to diagnose.
The reflux of gastric acid into the throat can happen at any time. If LPRD happens at night, this is even harder to diagnose since there are no specific symptoms at the time of the reflux. Typically patients will have throat irritation, hoarseness and discomfort in the throat without knowing the cause. An examination of the throat is necessary to determine is stomach acid is the cause of irritation in the voice box and throat.
Vocal Cord Paralysis
A common condition related to problems between the nerves and muscles within your voice box or larynx is vocal cord paralysis or weakness of one or both vocal cords. While paralysis of both vocal cords is rare, symptoms are usually difficulty getting enough air while breathing or talking. One vocal cord can become weakened (paresis) or paralyzed after a viral infection of the throat, after surgery in the neck or cheek region, or for reasons unknown.
Most paralysis will recovery on its own, but if it becomes permanent, surgical treatment may be required. The surgery for unilateral vocal cord paralysis involves positioning the paralyzed cord with the non-paralyzed cord to improve vibration within the paralyzed cord. Speech therapy may be used before and after the surgical procedure, sometimes this is the sole treatment. The treatment options really depend on the patient’s needs and the nature of the paralysis.
Throat cancer is a very serious medical condition that requires immediate attention. Signs of voice cancer are changes in the voice quality such as hoarseness, roughness, or raspiness. These are symptoms of the early stages.
If symptoms or changes in the voice last longer than two to four weeks in a smoker, immediate evaluation of the larynx by an otolaryngologist should take place. Treatment options for throat cancer vary from surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. If found early, typically no chemotherapy is necessary. The cure rate is greater than 90%.
If you feel you suffer from any voice disorder at all contact Miya & Torchinsky to schedule a consultation.