What is dysphonia?
Dysphonia is a disorder characterized by an alteration of the timbre of the voice, which may be due to various organic or functional causes of the larynx and vocal cords. In both children and adults, chronic aphonia requires a medical visit to diagnose any disorder that lasts more than 2 weeks, both to rule out the presence of any serious injury and to prevent the dysphonia from becoming chronic aphonia and leading to a total loss of voice. In dysphonia caused by forcing the voice or by infections and viruses, rest, anti-inflammatory drugs and, depending on the case, therapy with a speech therapist will be required to teach the patient how to use the voice properly and rehabilitate it. Two types of dysphonia can be differentiated:
- Acute dysphonia is usually self-limited and resolves with voice rest and some symptomatic treatment.
- Chronic dysphonia is more complex since its causes can be multiple: from tumor lesions to congenital lesions.
Prognosis of the disease
In most cases, dysphonia can be cured by following the appropriate treatment, since it is often caused by an infectious-inflammatory cause. If the problem lasts longer than 10 days, the patient should be referred to an ENT specialist for a thorough examination and a thorough examination of the vocal cords and larynx.
Symptoms of dysphonia
Symptoms may occur in isolation or in combination. Among the most frequent symptoms are
- Monotone voice
- Tremor in the voice
- Variations in the intensity of the voice and loss of treble notes
In addition, other non-phonatory symptoms such as coughing, itching, throat clearing and mild to moderate throat pain may occur.
In the vast majority of cases, dysphonia can be cured by following the appropriate treatment.
Medical tests for dysphonia
The otolaryngologist will examine the vocal cord changes and nervous system problems. A laryngeal probe with a light and camera may be used to examine the larynx. In addition, a vocal test may be performed by a speech therapist.
What are the causes of dysphonia?
When dysphonia occurs in children, it may be caused by neurological disorders, malformations of the larynx, laryngeal papillomas caused by viral infections, or by forcing the voice too much. The latter is the most common cause of dysphonia in adults, as untreated vocal hyperfunction can lead to other pathologies such as nodules or polyps on the vocal cords. In addition, there are other factors that can trigger dysphonia: gastroesophageal reflux, smoking, infectious processes such as laryngitis or tuberculosis, neurological disorders of the larynx or tumors.
Can it be prevented?
Dysphonia can be prevented by following some rules of vocal hygiene, among which are included:
- Not clearing your throat
- Proper hydration
- Avoiding dry environments and sudden changes in temperature.
- Avoid smoke and tobacco
- Resting properly
- Reduce caffeine consumption
Treatments for dysphonia
Dysphonia can be treated by resting the voice and modifying bad habits in the use of the voice. In case the dysphonia is caused by infectious processes, anti-inflammatory drugs can be administered.
Which specialist treats it?
The specialist who treats dysphonia is an expert in Otorhinolaryngology.