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Voice and Swallowing Issues

Common causes of voice and swallowing problems include vocal cord nodules or polyps, laryngitis, vocal cord paralysis, and swallowing disorders such as dysphagia or aspiration.

These conditions can result in symptoms such as hoarseness, difficulty speaking or singing, throat pain, coughing or choking while eating or drinking, and feeling as if food is stuck in the throat. Voice and swallowing issues may be caused by a variety of factors, including neurological conditions, structural abnormalities, or vocal misuse, and can occur at any age.

Surgery may be necessary to address voice and swallowing issues when conservative treatments such as speech therapy or medication have not been effective. At Metro ENT, we offer a range of surgical options tailored to each patient’s specific needs. Surgical interventions may include procedures such as vocal cord surgery, laryngoplasty, or pharyngeal/esophageal dilation to improve vocal function and swallowing ability.

Dr Ryan De Freitas

MBBS (Hons), BMedSci, MRCS, DOHNS, FRACS

ENT Surgeon

Voice and swallowing issues can arise from a variety of factors, impacting an individual’s ability to communicate effectively and swallow safely.

Common causes of these problems include:

  • Vocal Cord Disorders

    Conditions such as vocal cord nodules, polyps, or cysts can develop on the vocal cords due to vocal strain, misuse, or other factors, leading to hoarseness or changes in voice quality.

  • Laryngitis

    Inflammation of the larynx, often due to viral infections, overuse of the voice, or exposure to irritants like smoke or pollutants, can cause voice changes, throat pain, and difficulty speaking.

  • Vocal Cord Paralysis

    Damage to the nerves that control the vocal cords can result in vocal cord paralysis, leading to weak or breathy voice, difficulty projecting the voice, and aspiration risk.

  • Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)

    Dysphagia can occur due to various reasons, including neurological conditions such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease, structural abnormalities in the throat or esophagus, or muscle weakness. It can result in difficulty swallowing solids or liquids, choking, coughing, or food getting stuck in the throat.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

    Chronic acid reflux can irritate the throat and vocal cords, leading to symptoms such as heartburn, hoarseness, or chronic cough, and occasionally contributing to swallowing difficulties.

  • Throat Cancer

    Cancerous growths in the throat or esophagus can cause voice changes, swallowing difficulties, throat pain, and other symptoms, often requiring prompt medical attention and treatment.

  • Neurological Disorders

    Conditions affecting the nerves and muscles involved in voice production and swallowing, such as multiple sclerosis or myasthenia gravis, can lead to voice and swallowing problems.

Understanding the underlying cause of voice and swallowing issues is crucial for proper diagnosis and effective management. Individuals experiencing persistent symptoms should seek evaluation by a healthcare professional for appropriate assessment and treatment.