Most patients with laryngeal disorders present with hoarseness. When severe, some patients may experience aphonia (loss of voice). There can be several causes of this:
Vocal cord nodules are also known as calluses of the vocal fold. They appear on both sides of the vocal cords, typically at the midpoint, and directly face each other. Like other calluses, these lesions often diminish or disappear when overuse of the area is stopped. This condition can usually be treated conservatively with voice rest, vocal hygiene and regular hydration. Referral to the speech therapy may be necessary for chronic cases.
A vocal cord polyp typically occurs only on one side of the vocal cord and can occur in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending upon the nature of the polyp, it can cause a wide range of voice disturbances. These polyps usually need to be biopsied for diagnostic and therapeutic reasons.
A vocal cord cyst is a firm mass of tissue contained within a membrane (sac). The cyst can be located near the surface of the vocal cord or deeper, near the ligament of the vocal cord. As with vocal cord polyps and nodules, the size and location of vocal cord cysts affect the degree of disruption of vocal cord vibration and subsequently the severity of hoarseness or other voice problem. Surgery followed by voice therapy is the most commonly recommended treatment for vocal cord cysts that significantly alter and/or limit voice.
Laryngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the larynx.Smoking and drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of laryngeal cancer. Signs and symptoms of laryngeal cancer include a sore throat and ear pain.