A voice disorder occurs when the vocal folds do not vibrate effectively. Vocal folds are affected by excessive voice use, voice abuse or misuse (yelling), excessive throat clearing and gastro-esophageal reflux (excessive stomach acid backing into the larynx). The above conditions cause vocal pathologies like muscle tension dysphonia, vocal fold nodules, vocal fold polyps, contact ulcers, Reinke’s edema and vocal fold cysts.
Other vocal pathologies include vocal fold paralysis, spasmodic dysphonia, puberphonia and aphonia.
A voice disorder manifest itself as hoarseness of voice, breathiness in voice, harshness of voice, pitch fluctuations, monotone, feeble voice, vocal fatigue.
Voice therapy focuses on improving voice quality and helping the patient regain his/her original voice through vocal strengthening exercises and reduction of vocally abusive behaviors.