A change in the voice is called hoarseness or dysphonia.
Normally when we talk/sing the vocal cords come together and vibrate. This creates a sound which we know as the voice. Hoarseness results from the vocal cords in the voice box (Larynx) not working properly. There are several causes of hoarseness, fortunately most are not serious and tend to go away after a short period of time. Common causes are:
A viral upper respiratory tract infection, causing the voice box lining to swell (Laryngitis)
Stomach acid/enzymes irritating the throat (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux)
A build-up of soft tissue (polyps) or thickenings (nodules) on the vocal cords. These can develop when the voice is used too much or too loudly for long periods of time (Singer’s Nodules). Vocal cord polyps are often related to smoking.
Problems with the strength of the lungs can also lead to a change in voice
Rarely a growth or tumour develops on the vocal cords and or voice box. These may be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).
Problems with movement of the vocal cords (paralysed vocal cords). One or both of the vocal cords may be paralysed if its nerve is affected by infection or tumour.
Mr. Dhanasekar would examine the voice box in clinic with a flexible fibre-optic camera [flexible laryngoscopy] through your nose and identify the cause for hoarseness and initiate appropriate treatment. He also works closely with the speech therapists to improve and strengthen the voice.