Voice disorders in children and adults are common. They appear with misuse of normal vocal mechanism and they may occur due to respiratory, laryngeal, and other illnesses of resonant structures. Even the small changes in voice quality should encourage you to visit the speech pathologist for early diagnosis and treatment so you can prevent serious problems. Most of the voice disorders that alter its quality are curable. It is important to listen to advice of speech therapist to avoid bad habits that lead us to a specific state of voice.
The most common forms of voice disorders
Hoarseness – Most people with voice disorders complain of hoarseness or laryngitis. Hoarse voice is usually harsh, scratchy, and rough and it is caused by abnormalities on the vibrating edges of the vocal cords. It May include swelling, roughness of inflammation, growths, scars, or anything that interferes with the symmetry and frequency of vibration.
Breathiness – is caused by lesions that prevent complete closure of the vocal cords due to paralysis, muscle weakness, cricoarytenoid injury, or nodules on the vocal cords or atrophy of vocal cords. These abnormalities permit air and when the vocal cords should be firmly closed.
Voice weakness (fatigue) – is inability of a person to phonate for a long time without a change in voice quality. This problem specifically occurs in actors or singers. The weakness is often caused by incorrect use of abdominal and neck muscles, or voice abuse (with loud singing, talking too long). Vocal fatigue may be a sign of more serious diseases such as myasthenia gravis.
Voice volume disturbance – refers to the inability of a person to speak or sing loudly or softly phonate. Problems of volume appear with technical errors in voice production, hormonal changes, aging and neurological diseases. Superior laryngeal nerve paralysis prevents the person to speak loudly. This is a common consequence of unrecognized herpes infection.
Prolonged voice warm up (especially in the morning) – usually caused by reflux laryngitis, a condition where stomach acid flows to the base of the tongue and ends with “burning” in the neck.
Tickling or choking during speaking or singing – is often associated with laryngitis or voice abuse. This symptom requires avoiding the use of voice until the vocal cords are not examined. Pain while vocalizing can indicate vocal cord lesions, infections, or that stomach acid irritates arytenoids, but most frequently it is caused by voice abuse with excessive neck muscle activity.
Years affect the voice – especially during childhood or at an older age. Voice abuse in childhood can lead to problems that persist throughout life. It is important that children learn good vocal habits, and do not abuse their vote. This is especially important when children are involved in activities like singing, acting and cheerleading. A child with unexplained or prolonged hoarseness should undergo prompt medical evaluation in otolaryngology.
With older people changes in voice, voice fatigue may be associated with the typical physiological changes of aging, such as vocal cords atrophy. Such a voice could be a consequence of poor laryngeal respiration and weak abdominal muscles, which undermine the power source of the voice. With the appropriate state of body and voice numerous features that are associated with the vocal aging can be removed and a youthful voice can be restored.