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Causes and Treatment for Voice Disorders

Voice disorders involve anything that impacts your ability to speak as you normally have. Voice disorders can develop suddenly or over time, but almost all voice disorders involve a noticeable change in how you're able to communicate with others.

If you're dealing with an unexpected change in how your voice sounds, it's not surprising if you're a little bit concerned. So, it's understandable if you're looking for answers to what 's causing the change in the way your voice sounds and when to see a doctor, if at all.

Symptoms of Voice Disorders

Common symptoms of voice disorders include:

  • Strained, raspy, hoarse, or "breathy" sounding voice
  • Phlegmy sounding voice
  • Difficulty speaking or forming words
  • Changes in pitch or the volume of your voice
  • Experiencing pain when you talk or try to talk
  • Experiencing symptoms like a fever, body aches, or sinus-related problems

If you're dealing with any of the above symptoms, then you're probably dealing with a condition that is the result of a voice disorder. At some point, almost everyone has to deal with a voice disorder. That doesn't mean you shouldn't understand why your voice may suddenly be different, what types of voice disorders there are, or when to see a doctor.

So, let's take a closer look at what causes a voice disorder, the different types of voice disorders, treatments, and how the professionals at ENT Utah can help you.

Causes of Voice Disorders

You already know your voice sounds different, maybe even far from normal. When you have a voice disorder, you're dealing with an abnormality affecting the voice box, vocal cords and their proper function.

When the vocal cords aren't functioning properly, the causes are often related to:

  • Inflammation (Infection, Irritation, or Over-use)
  • Injury
  • Scarring
  • Growths
  • Neurological Issue

Again, these are only causes that are underlying a more specific disorder.

Different Types of Voice Disorders

Voice disorders vary greatly, as do their causes. Some can be temporary and require no treatment, while others can be permanent or require surgery and voice therapy.

  • Laryngitis. This is probably the most common cause of a sudden hoarse or "lost" voice. Laryngitis can be the result of a viral infection, irritant, or over-use.
  • Viral or Bacterial Infection. Other viral or bacterial infections (Sinusitis, Rhinitis, etc) can affect the area of the throat and vocal cords that can lead to a strained or hoarse voice, especially in cases where coughing is involved.
  • Allergies. Even if you've been dealing with allergies a long time, how your body reacts to allergens can change as you age or if you've been exposed to an irritant more than normal.
  • Acid Reflux. This disorder can cause irritation to the throat and vocal cords, affecting how your voice sounds.
  • Growths. These can include nodules, polyps, or cysts that can change the sound of your voice as they grow.
  • Injury or scarring. Injury or scarring to the vocal cords or soft tissue in the throat can temporarily or permanently alter the sound of your voice.

Treatment for Voice Disorders

Different types of voice disorders require different types of treatment. In cases where the disorder is the result of an infection, the disorder may go away on its own with the aid of rest and drinking fluids. Or, in the case of a bacterial infection, a course of antibiotics may be appropriate. For other disorders like acid reflux, it may come down to a change in diet. And in cases like growths, tests will probably be needed to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

The best way to find the treatment that's right for you is to consult your healthcare provider or seek out the help of professionals like the team at ENT Utah.

When to See A Doctor

If your voice hasn't gotten better after a couple of weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. However, if you're concerned about your voice or voice disorders in general, schedule an appointment if you can. And if you're experiencing anything like:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pain that is getting worse
  • Swelling that is getting worse

Then you should seek immediate medical care.


Don't Wait

If you're experiencing issues that may be related to a voice disorder, or if you would like more information, visit our website or contact our team at (801) 893-4905 today. The specialists at ENT Utah are experts at treating voice disorders. We'll work with you to develop a treatment plan that's tailored to your needs.