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Decreased Voice Quality – When to See a Doctor

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

You have most likely experienced hoarseness at some point in your life. Often associated with a cold or flu, hoarseness of the throat leads to strained and raspy changes in voice. However when a cold, or acute laryngitis, is not the cause of the hoarseness, something more serious may be occurring. Constant increased vocal effort and decreased voice quality should be evaluated by an ENT specialist who can identify the cause.

Our voices are extremely complex. The way they work is when the vocal fold comes together, air flows through which leads the lining of the vocal folds to vibrate with undulating waves. Changes in voice are almost always indicative of a medical problem. At ENT Specialists, we thoroughly examine the vocal cords using flexible laryngoscopy or videostroboscopy. Voice conditions that we treat range from vocal fold cysts, nodules, polyps and hemorrhage to paralysis, granuloma, RRP (recurrent respiratory papillomatosis), laryngeal cancer, chronic cough and laryngopharyngeal reflux.

Voice disorders can be very difficult to live with, as they can lead to impaired communication with family, friends and coworkers. They can lead to depression, social isolation, increased anxiety, and lost wages due to missed work.

Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia, are most commonly seen in combination with recurring pneumonia, coughing or choking while eating, unintentional weight loss or regurgitating food. A comprehensive evaluation is usually required to determine the cause of your swallowing difficulty. This may include an exam of the pharynx and larynx, a swallow evaluation by a speech-language pathologist or radiographic studies.

If you have experienced hoarseness, coughing, phlegm, throat tightness, difficulty breathing, clearing or strain and pain when singing or talking, or difficulty swallowing, make an appointment at one of our four locations to meet with an ENT Physician who can help you.

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