What are the symptoms of voice disorders?

Kenneth Altman, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)

Voice problems (dysphonia) are the symptoms of other physical and emotional issues. A person’s voice is highly reflective of their general health and emotional status, as well as the health of the actual tissues of the larynx itself. So while the voice is a sensitive indicator of many aspects of a person’s health, there are few physical indications of a voice problem other than the sound and function of the voice itself. A general rule of thumb is that if your voice has changed in its character, effort level, or function and not resolved for several weeks, it’s time to have a voice specialist help you determine what might be contributing to your dysphonia.

The primary symptoms of voice disorders are abnormal and spontaneous changes in the voice. Hoarseness, an unusual pitch, or uncontrollable volume may indicate the presence of a voice disorder. In addition to these common voice disorder symptoms, other symptoms may occur as a result of the underlying cause of the voice disorder. In laryngitis and throat cancer, for instance, an itch, a tickling sensation, or an urge to clear the throat may accompany vocal changes.

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Voice Disorders

Voice Disorders

Some of the most common symptoms of voice disorders are a change in your voice (it becomes either deeper or raspy), you have trouble singing, your throat feels raw or itchy and you find yourself repeatedly clearing your throat. Th...

ese symptoms can be caused by inflammation, respiratory infection, growths on your vocal cords or just by overusing your voice if you are for example a professional singer or a member of a cheerleading squad. If you develop a voice disorder, you may want to see an otolaryngologist to determine the cause of your voice problem.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.