Happy better speech and hearing month! Many people suffer with voice disorders yet are unfamiliar with how they are caused or how they can prevent them. Voice disorders may make people sound hoarse or make speech production difficult and sometimes painful. There are many ways to classify voice disorders but the main categories are:
Organic — voice disorders that are physiological in nature and result from alterations in respiratory, laryngeal, or vocal tract mechanisms
Structural — organic voice disorders that result from physical changes in the voice mechanism (e.g., alterations in vocal fold tissues such as edema or vocal nodules; structural changes in the larynx due to aging)
Neurogenic — organic voice disorders that result from problems with the central or peripheral nervous system innervation to the larynx that affect functioning of the vocal mechanism (e.g., vocal tremor, spasmodic dysphonia, or paralysis of vocal folds)
Functional — voice disorders that result from improper or inefficient use of the vocal mechanism when the physical structure is normal (e.g., vocal fatigue; muscle tension dysphonia or aphonia; diplophonia; ventricular phonation)
(Information quoted from asha.org)
Check out Midwest ENT’s tips below for protecting your voice:
- Drink water. Your vocal cords vibrate very fast keeping them hydrated helps keep them lubricated.
- Avoid yelling and screaming. Even just a few hours of yelling at your favorite concert or children sporting event can cause damage to your vocal cords.
- Don’t Smoke. Smoking raises the risk of throat cancer and irritates the vocal cords.
- Don’t clear your throat too often. This can cause injury and make your hoarse. Instead take a sip of water when you feel the urge to clear.
- Humidity in your home. Moisture in the air is also important for keeping your vocal cords hydrated. If your home is very dry it can lead to irritation of the vocal cords.
To schedule an appointment with Midwest ENT’s Speech Language Pathologist Ann Smith M.S., C.C.C., call (651) 641-6134.