We don’t realize how important our voice is until something threatens to take it away. Any number of conditions can impact the quality of our voice, resulting in symptoms such as hoarseness, pitch changes, excessive breathiness, vocal fatigue, a raspy or cracking tone or reduced volume.
One of the most common offenders to voice health are vocal nodules, benign growths of the vocal cords that are caused by overuse of the voice, smoking, and a number of other factors. Initially, soft, swollen spots appear, but with repetitive abuse, callus-like nodules develop. Some people have vocal polyps, which are stalk-like growths on one or both vocal cords and can be triggered by a single vocally abusive event. Others may have vocal paralysis, where one or both vocal cords is paralyzed and causes problems with voice quality, breathing and swallowing.
The human voice can also be affected by ailments as basic as the common cold or a diagnosis such as Parkinson’s disease, where vocal fold bowing is taking place. It’s estimated that 89 percent of Parkinson’s patients will experience some form of speech and voice problems, such as reduced volume, decreased pitch range and/or slurred articulation of certain sounds. Fortunately, our skilled speech-language pathologists can show you a variety of solutions, exercises, and programs to help you speak more like your old self again!