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Vocal Nodules

Vocal Nodules

VOCAL CORD GROWTHS

Vocal nodules, also known as vocal cord nodules or singer's nodules, are noncancerous growths or callous-like formations that develop on the vocal cords. They are one of the most common causes of voice problems, particularly in individuals who use their voices frequently, such as singers, teachers, and public speakers.

Causes

Vocal nodules typically develop due to repeated trauma or strain on the vocal cords. Common causes and contributing factors include:  

 

  • Voice Overuse: Frequent and forceful use of the voice, such as yelling, shouting, or speaking loudly for extended periods, can strain the vocal cords and lead to the formation of nodules.  

  • Voice Abuse: Strained or improper vocal techniques, such as speaking in an unnatural pitch, can contribute to the development of nodules.

  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to irritants like smoking, secondhand smoke, dry air, or allergens can increase the risk of vocal cord irritation and nodules.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Acid reflux can cause stomach acid to flow back into the throat, leading to irritation and damage to the vocal cords, potentially contributing to the development of nodules.

Symptoms

Symptoms of vocal nodules can include:

  • Hoarseness

  • Breathiness

  • Vocal fatigue

  • Cracking or breaking of the voice

  • Difficulty speaking loudly

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Diagnosis

To diagnose vocal nodules, a healthcare provider, typically an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), will conduct a thorough evaluation, which may include:  

 

  • Laryngoscopy: Using a flexible or rigid scope, the healthcare provider examines the vocal cords directly to visualize the presence and characteristics of the nodules.  

  • Videostroboscopy: This specialized imaging technique provides detailed information about vocal cord movement and vibrational patterns, aiding in the diagnosis and assessment of nodules.

Treatment

Treatment for vocal nodules depends on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause. In some cases, no treatment is necessary and the nodules will resolve on their own.

 

In other cases, treatment may include:

  • Voice rest: This means avoiding talking loudly or singing for long periods of time.

  • Vocal therapy: Vocal therapy can teach you how to use your voice in a way that does not strain the vocal cords.

  • Medication: Medication, such as steroids or antibiotics, may be used to reduce inflammation or treat an infection.

  • Surgery: Surgery may be necessary to remove large or persistent nodules.

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