Having a healthy voice is important. For some it may be an important part of how they make a living; think singers, teachers and lawyers. For the rest of us in the Murrieta area, it is important not to strain or injure our vocal cords. And while we may not all be professional opera singers, not being able to talk can seriously impact your life.
The vocal cords, technically called vocal folds, are groups of muscle tissue in the larynx. They open and close to allow you to breathe and eat effortlessly. When you speak, they close, and air from the lungs makes them vibrate. This produces sound. The size and shape of the vocal folds and surrounding cavities (throat, mouth and nose) help determine the pitch, volume and tone of your voice. This is what makes it unique. When illness or disease affect your voice, it can change the pitch, volume and quality of sound.
This sounds easy enough, right? Any problem with this process can lead to a voice problem. Symptoms of a voice disorder include:
- A hoarse, raspy or weak voice
- Decreased range in pitch, volume and projection
- Vocal fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Chronic throat clearing
- Voice loss
If these symptoms last longer than two weeks, seek the attention of a Murrieta ear, nose and throat doctor. An otolaryngologist is the most qualified medical professional for diagnosing voice problems.
The majority of voice disorders are related to conditions that can be treated. They rarely indicate a serious health problem, and are usually curable.
One of the most common voice problems is vocal cord abuse. This occurs when you use your voice improperly; shouting, whispering and frequent throat clearing can cause strain and fatigue of the vocal cords. Continued abuse can lead to permanent voice damage and a number of serious medical issues such as laryngitis, polyps, cysts and vocal fold swelling.
Other conditions that can affect the voice include upper respiratory infections, acid reflux, tobacco smoke, hormones, vocal nodules, neurological diseases and tumors. If you have any questions about how to prevent vocal cord abuse or how to keep your voice healthy, contact your Murrieta ear, nose and throat doctor at California Head & Neck Specialists.