Voice Disorders - Causes, Types, Diagnosis & TreatmentA voice disorder is a condition that affects the pitch, quality, and loudness of your voice. The voice characteristics may not fit the individual’s cultural background or geographical location. The condition may have a considerable impact on confidence and self-esteem. Here are essential facts on causes and interventions for voice disorders Los Gatos.

How does the larynx produce sound?

The larynx or voice box is a chamber on the upper side of the airway. Its principal purpose is to stop foreign materials from getting into the airway. Through evolution, many animal species have adopted it for voice production.

The larynx produces sound through two folds of tissue known as the vocal fold. The vocal folds vibrate, generating sound as the lungs push air through the larynx The cheeks, mouth, and lips modify the sound to produce intelligible words.

Causes voice disorders

Changes in the pitch, volume, and tone of voice may arise due to various factors. It could be anything that affects the vocal fold function.

The factors causing voice disorders may fall into several categories. The primary ones are structural, neurological, functional, or psychogenic factors.

  • Structural

Structural factors are issues that interfere with the voice box mechanism’s ability to produce sound. The problem may arise when growths or cysts modify the vocal folds. Allergies, chemicals, or medication may cause tissue inflammation and swelling.

A voice disorder may develop if the larynx is under constant strain. Shouting, smoking, and clearing your throat may stress the tissue. Aging may also speed up structural changes in the larynx.

  • Functional

Functional voice disorders occur when the vocal mechanism has no anomalies. But the sound production is inefficient. For example, muscle tension dysphonia muscles around the voice box are tense. Muscle tension prevents the voice box from vibrating.

Another example is ventricular phonation, where the ventricular fold vibrates instead of the vocal fold tissue. Since the ventricular folds do not typically play a role in phonation, sound production is low and inefficient.

  • Neurological

Voice disorders may occur when there is an issue with the signaling between the peripheral nervous system and the larynx. For example, a problem with nerve impulses may lead to vocal fold paralysis. It may interfere with breathing and talking.

Spasmodic dysphonia is another example of a neurological voice disorder. It causes the muscles around the voice box to vibrate uncontrollably. Research is not conclusive on its specific mechanism. But scientists believe it occurs due to nerve signal disruptions between the brain and larynx.

  • Psychogenic

Psychogenic voice disorders occur due to one or more psychological factors. It may happen after a traumatic event or prolonged periods of stress. The mental distress can impact the involuntary control or voice box muscles.

Voice disorder treatment

It is possible to treat voice disorders successfully, but the treatment will vary depending on individual factors. Some conditions may require surgical procedures to restore vocal fold function.

Psychological interventions could be the solution for cases of psychogenic voice disorders. Your healthcare provider may recommend therapeutic exercises to restore larynx function.

If you have speech problems, contact Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center or schedule an appointment online today. 

By Johnson