If you’re experiencing a change in voice quality or difficulty speaking, you may have a voice disorder. With most voice disorders, the best treatment results come from a combination of behavioral, medical and sometimes surgical approaches. Often a voice condition starts or gets worse with excessive or inefficient voice use. Without correcting the behavioral aspect, symptoms may recur even if medical or surgical treatments provide temporary improvement.
Voice and swallow programs address many different voice and throat symptoms, including:
- Hoarse or gravelly voice quality.
- Unpleasant or changed voice tone.
- Weak voice.
- Throat pain with voice use.
- Change in voice stamina; voice tires quickly.
- Tight voice or throat.
- Pitch changes or voice limitations.
Conditions we treat include:
- Benign vocal fold lesions such as nodules, polyps and cysts. These can cause a raspy, rough or breathy voice.
- Vocal fold thinning (atrophy). You may notice that your voice gets softer and softer, and talking becomes very effortful.
- Scarring and tissue loss in the vocal cords (sulcus vocalis). This condition is usually related to vocal abuse or trauma and is sometimes congenital. Sulcus vocalis leads to a soft, breathy and rough voice.
- Vocal fold weakness (paresis). This may be caused by damage to the vocal fold nerve or physical damage. It may cause a very soft voice because the vocal folds cannot close completely.
- Precancerous or early cancer vocal fold lesions. This is diagnosed by biopsy.
- Spasmodic dysphonia and vocal tremor. These voice disturbances are neurological conditions and cause the voice to be strained or shaky.
- Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. These are benign vocal fold lesions related to the human papilloma virus (HPV).
- Inflammatory and infectious vocal fold lesions. These vocal fold disorders can create acute or chronic inflammation of the vocal folds.
Certain Sutter sites offer multidisciplinary voice and swallow care in local clinics. We also offer therapy services via telehealth, ideally after an initial evaluation in a multidisciplinary clinic.