Dysphonia

"5% of the Spanish population suffers from a voice disorder that requires the intervention of an otolaryngologist".

DR. SECUNDINO FERNÁNDEZ GONZÁLEZ
SPECIALIST. OTORHINOLARYNGOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Dysphonia is the loss of the normal timbre of the voice due to a functional or organic disorder of the larynx.

Aphonia is the maximum alteration of dysphonia, the total loss of voice.

Vocal hyperfunction is the origin of pathologies such as vocal cord nodules, polyps or vocal cord edema.

Problems in children are usually due to congenital malformations, such as laryngeal membranes, angiomas or some other more infrequent alteration.

In more advanced ages, laryngeal papillomas can appear, originated by a viral infection. When the child already speaks, related alterations may begin to appear, in most cases, due to vocal hyperfunction.

In adults, most dysphonies are caused by vocal hyperfunction. Dysphonia can also originate in a neurological disorder of the larynx, such as in spastic dysphonia, which is characterized by voice spasms that prevent regular vocal flow, in Parkinson's or myasthenia gravis, among others.

Within the endocrinological alterations responsible for an alteration of the vocal cords and therefore of the presence of a dysphonia, it is necessary to emphasize the myxedema of the hypothyroidism or the changes produced in the climacteric.

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What are the symptoms of dysphonia?

The quantitative and qualitative alteration of phonation is accompanied by a series of vocal characteristics (signs) that differ according to the type of dysphonia, be it organic or functional in origin.

The signs in dysphonies can be manifested in isolation or combined with each other and it is frequent that the symptoms (patient's complaints) coincide with the signs present.

The most frequent symptoms referred to are: hoarseness, monotonous voice, trembling voice, episodes of aphonia, variations in intensity, frequent loss of highs or feeling of lack of air when phoning.

In addition, the patient with dysphonia usually refers or presents the following non-phonic symptoms: coughing, itching, use of throat clearing, foreign body sensation when swallowing, and mild or moderate throat pain when speaking.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Hoarseness.
  • Variations in voice intensity.
  • Episodes of aphonia or absence of voice.
  • Coughing.
  • Sore throat when speaking.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have a dysphonia

How is dysphonia diagnosed?

The sound that generates the voice is originated by vibration of the vocal chords, located in the larynx. 

A form of physiological dysphonia is the change of voice that occurs in the adolescent male, which appears between 15 and 18 years old.

It is necessary to carry out a physical exploration of the larynx in all recurrent dysphonia or one that extends beyond 15 days, especially if there is a tobacco habit. It can show the existence of a vocal cord tumour.

How is dysphonia treated?

Most dysphonies can be treated by resting the voice and modifying bad vocal habits. 

The treatment of dysphonia caused by infectious processes only requires voice rest and, sometimes, anti-inflammatory drugs.

The treatment of nodules and vocal cord edema consists of carrying out phoniatric rehabilitation and, if it persists, completing it with microsurgical removal.

In the case of vocal cord polyp, the fundamental treatment is surgical exeresis and subsequent phoniatric rehabilitation.

Where do we treat it?

IN NAVARRE AND MADRID

The Department of Otolaryngology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Otorhinolaryngology of the University of Navarra Clinic is a national and world reference in numerous highly specialized surgical procedures.

We have the latest technology and we perform all diagnostic tests in less than 48 hours in order to offer our patients the best solution in the shortest time possible.

We were one of the first centers in Spain to use robotic surgery in the surgical treatment with the Da Vinci® System. 

Organized in specialized units:

  • Otology - Hearing.
  • Rhinology - Nose.
  • Pharyngology - Throat.
  • Laryngology - Voice.
  • Balance disorders.
  • Head and neck problems.
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Why at the Clinica?

  • Experts in the treatment of hearing problems.
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