Injuries or conditions that affect the vocal cords can be particularly troubling because they affect our ability to speak. According to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly 8 million Americans have difficulty speaking due to medical conditions and congenital defects. Fortunately, the vast majority of patients who come to our Boca Raton, FL office are able to be successfully treated by Dr. Bradford Ress and our skilled team of medical experts. Vocal Cords Basics and Risk Factors for Injury The vocal cords (vocal folds) are the twin membranes that stretch horizontally across the larynx near the windpipe. The vocal cords have the ability to tighten and vibrate as air passes over them. When we are not speaking, the cords rest in an open position. Just like any other muscle in your body, the vocal cords are vulnerable to becoming strained, inflamed, or sore. |
Individuals who have to speak at loud and sustained intervals are at higher risk for developing vocal cord injuries. Habits such as smoking and excessive coughing can also raise the chances for injuring the vocal cords. Professional singers and teachers often deal with strained vocal cords. Vocal Chord Injuries Laryngitis
Most people are familiar with or have experienced laryngitis. The condition often causes difficulty speaking. Laryngitis is caused by swollen vocal cords. Individuals with this condition are often described as sounding “hoarse.” Most people will experience the symptoms of laryngitis for a few days before the vocal cords naturally heal. These symptoms may include:
? Persistent cough ? A weak or barely audible voice ? Swollen lymph notes ? Runny nose ? Difficulty swallowing
During your exam at Dr. Ress’ Boca Raton medical office, Dr. Ress will determine the cause of your symptoms. These may include sinusitis, respiratory infection, a cold, exposure to tobacco products, exposure to harmful chemicals, or overuse of the vocal cords. Your treatment will depend on the cause of your symptoms. Vocal Cord Polyps Longterm oversue of the vocal cords can lead to the formation of vocal polyps. The non-cancerous growths are more prevalent among professional singers. Individuals with vocal cord polyps often experience vocal fatigue and some level of loss of voice. Pain is another frequent symptom.
Vocal cord polyps can often be treated with rest, surgery, therapy, or by working closely with a speech therapist. Acid Reflux There are many potential causes of acid reflux. When the digestive acids of the stomach reach the vocal cords, the acid can irritate or damage the sensitive membranes. Acid reflux is one common cause of laryngitis. Acid reflux is usually highly treatable. Changes in diet and lifestyle are often sufficient to resolve the issue. If acid reflux is the cause of your vocal cord injury, Dr. Ress may recommend certain nutritional guidelines to lower your risk of further damaging your vocal cords. Vocal Cord Paralysis Although rare, one possible cause of voice box injury is due to vocal cord paralysis, which results from damage to the vocal cord nerve. This type of injury can result in severe hoarseness and, occasionally, difficulty swallowing or breathing. Causes of vocal cord paralysis include surgery, trauma, neurological disease, or some type of infection. Therapy or surgery are often recommended for treating this condition. Treat Your Vocal Cord Injury in Boca Raton, FL If you are experiencing difficulty speaking, Dr. Ress can diagnose and treat the cause of your vocal cord injury. As with any injury or condition, early treatment can lead to better health outcomes. Call us today for more information.
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