Voice is the sound made by vibration of the vocal cords caused by air passing out through the larynx bringing the cords closer together. Your voice is an extremely valuable resource and is the most commonly used form of communication. Our voice is invaluable for both our social interaction, as well as for most people’s occupation. Proper care and use of your voice improves the likelihood of having a healthy voice for your entire lifetime.
Your SNENT team can help you care for your voice and tend to any conditions that threaten its health.
Voice and throat conditions vary widely and are the result of many different causes. Other causes may include:
- Inflammation of the vocal cords (often the result of viral or bacterial infections, allergies, acid reflux, surgery or certain medications)
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids (typically the result of chronic infection)
- Hormonal irregularities (particularly thyroid disease)
- Disorders of the central nervous system (including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
There are lifestyle factors that make certain voice and throat conditions more likely, including:
- Smoking and/or chronic cough
- Alcohol abuse
- Bulimia (binging and purging via vomiting)
- Vocal abuse (typically the result of overuse, excessive volume or other strain to the vocal cords)
If your voice has changed in strength or pitch, it is difficult or painful to talk, or your throat condition persists beyond 10 days, it is important to seek medical treatment. You should also seek throat care immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing;
- Fever or patches in the throat, often a sign of a bacterial infection, such as strep throat;
- Repeated throat infection, which may be a sign of enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
How to Treat Throat and Voice Disorders
Some voice and throat conditions, especially those tied to a viral infection, are acute in nature and resolve on their own. This includes many sore throats and laryngitis, which can lead to hoarseness or temporary loss of the voice. If, however, your symptoms are chronic or recurring, it is important to seek professional throat care.
Ear, nose and throat doctors, also known as otolaryngologists, can evaluate changes in your voice and determine what condition(s) may be affecting your throat.
When you visit Sierra Nevada ENT, our doctors will first take a detailed medical history and chart the onset, severity, frequency and duration of symptoms. We will perform a laryngoscopy, which allows us to physically examine the throat with a scope and light. In some cases, additional testing or imaging may be necessary to determine if there are issues with the vocal cords, nerves or tissue in the throat.
Our doctors will then prescribe a treatment plan based on the results of the examination and tests. Treatment options vary and may include lifestyle changes, speech therapy, medication or surgery.
Since there are a wide range of voice and throat disorders, they can require a host of different treatments. That is why it is important to visit an ear, nose and throat doctor such as the specialists at Sierra Nevada ENT for a proper diagnosis.
Sierra Nevada ENT is a physician-owned practice guided by our team of skilled and compassionate doctors. With locations in Reno, Carson City, Gardnerville and Fallon, we have been proudly serving the Northern Nevada area for over 25 years.
We can help diagnose voice and throat conditions and prescribe an appropriate treatment. Our goal is to provide relief and improve our patients’ quality of life. Call to schedule an appointment at one of our four locations today.
Voice and Throat Conditions