What is a voice disorder?

For a normal voice, the vocal cords vibrate as a result of air passing through the larynx. Anything that affects the vocal cord movement can result in a voice disorder.

Many voice disorders can develop gradually, and some voice disorders can develop very quickly. Many voice injuries can be resolved with appropriate early diagnosis and treatment.

Active OHS Tip:  The quicker an accurate diagnosis is determined the sooner treatment can be determined and a claim strategy can be determined.

Voice disorders can be caused by a range of factors, such as: –

  • Growths on the vocal cords (such as cysts, nodules, polyps). Damaged tissue (called lesions) can develop over time.
  • Inflammation and swelling – this can arise from many things such as respiratory illnesses, some medications, allergies, reflux etc. Vocal abuse can also cause inflammation and swelling. Continuing to use the voice when the vocal cords are inflamed can result in further damage.
  • Nerve problems – certain neurological conditions may affect the nerves that control the vocal cords. Surgery or laryngitis can also affect the nerves. Sudden impact activities of the voice may cause paresis (such as shouting).
  • Vocal Abuse – vocal abuse can arise from excessive talking, shouting or coughing. Constantly clearing the throat can also cause vocal abuse. Vocal abuse can then cause inflammation of the vocal cords, or nodules and polyps etc. It can lead to bursting a blood vessel which needs to be treated straight away. Using the vocal cords incorrectly over time may lead to an overuse of the muscles around the vocal cords.

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