Vocal Cord Paralysis

Friday, June 13, 2014

Vocal cord paralysis occurs when the nerve impulses to your voice box, or larynx, are interrupted. This results in paralysis of the muscle of the vocal cords. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Everyone has two vocal cords in his or her larynx. The vocal cords vibrate during speech to produce voice. If one or both vocal cords are unable to move, then the person will experience voice problems and possibly breathing and swallowing problems. This is vocal cord paralysis.

Your vocal cords do more than just produce sound. They also protect your airway by preventing food, drink and even your saliva from entering your windpipe and causing you to choke.

There are a number of causes of vocal cord paralysis including damage to nerves during surgery and certain cancers. Vocal cord paralysis can also be caused by a viral infection or a neurological disorder.

The severity of voice and swallowing problems depends on where the nerve damage occurs. Typical symptoms include:

Hoarseness

Inability to speak loudly

Choking or coughing while eating, and

Possible pneumonia caused by food and liquid being aspirated into the lungs

Treatment for vocal cord paralysis usually includes voice therapy; however, surgery is also sometimes necessary.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.