The voice is created in the larynx (voice box) through a series of coordinated actions involving the lungs, vocal folds (or vocal cords), and muscles involved in breathing. Once the sound is made in the larynx, it is molded and resonated in the vocal tract, which includes the pharynx (throat), nose, and oral cavity. This highly complicated system must all work together to produce voice, therefore, any alterations in one or any of the components of this system can significantly impact the voice.
The vocal folds are located on the top of the windpipe (or trachea). They move symmetrically to open when we breathe in. Phonation (or voicing) occurs when we breathe out when the vocal folds are closed and they vibrate to produce a sound. Hoarseness, or dysphonia, is an alteration in ones normal voice. This is more of a description than a diagnosis, as a number of things can be responsible for hoarseness.
Voice changes, that persist more than 2 weeks, should be evaluated by a physician. Other worrisome presentations of dysphonia include, voice changes without an associated illness, voice changes associated with difficulty breathing or swallowing, or voice changes that continue to worsen.
Changes in pitch range, volume, or quality are signs of a voice disorder. Professional voice users or performers may notice more subtle changes in their voice prompting a visit for a voice exam.
It is our goal to carefully evaluate all of the integral components of your voice to identify and
treat the cause of your voice disorder. Our voice team will perform a voice exam and evaluation on your first visit.