Voice disorders are conditions that affect the health and function of your voice box and vocal cords. Common voice disorders can be influenced by a number of factors, including smoking, allergies, and stress to the vocal cords. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a voice disorder, Howard Berg, MD, of Specialists In Otolaryngology can help you determine the cause of your condition and the best treatment for effective relief. To discuss your symptoms with Dr. Berg, book an appointment at the office in West Orange, New Jersey, by phone or online today.
Voice disorders make it difficult to use your voice normally. In some cases, certain voice disorders can cause pain and discomfort. Symptoms of voice disorders include:
Your symptoms depend on your particular voice disorder. There are a number of different conditions that can affect the way your voice functions or the way you process speech. Voice disorders can result from trauma or stress to the voice box as well as changes to the speech centers of the brain.
Laryngitis is a condition that occurs when your voice box becomes swollen and inflamed. Laryngitis can result from overuse, infection, or irritation of the voice box. In most cases, laryngitis is caused by infections like the flu or common cold, and it clears up along with the underlying condition. Chronic laryngitis is typically caused by repeated overuse, exposure to chemical fumes and irritants, or smoking.
Dysphasia is a condition that affects the way you use and process verbal communication. Dysphasia occurs when the area of the brain responsible for producing speech becomes impaired. Dysphasia is most commonly caused by strokes, but can also result from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, infections, brain injuries, and brain tumors. Patients with dysphasia often struggle to find words and speak slowly or nonsensically with little meaning.
Voice spasms are temporary, sudden involuntary movements of the muscles inside your voice box. Voice spasms cause the vocal folds to tighten, producing a strained, shaky, or hoarse sound. A number of underlying conditions can result in voice spasms, including allergies, stress, anxiety, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although they can be frightening, in most cases, voice spasms are temporary and infrequent. Chronic voice spasms are commonly caused by spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological disorder that impairs the voice muscles.
Treatment for your voice disorder depends on the underlying cause. Although conditions like laryngitis typically clear up on their own, persistent or recurrent symptoms require medical intervention. If you’re experiencing changes or difficulties to your speech, Dr. Berg and his team provide effective diagnosis and treatment. Recovering from your voice disorder may require lifestyle modifications (like quitting smoking or avoiding allergens), medication, or surgery. To find out which treatment option is best for you, book an appointment by phone or online today.