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Voice & Swallowing

A voice disorder is characterized when one has a problem with pitch, volume, tone, and other qualities of your voice. These problems occur when your vocal cords don't vibrate normally. The voice is the sound that air makes when it is forced out of your lungs and passes over your vocal cords. Vocal cords are the 2 folds of tissue inside your larynx, also called the voice box. The vibration of those cords is what produces speech.

Examples of voice disorders include:

  • Laryngitis. Laryngitis is when your vocal cords swell. It makes the voice sound hoarse. Or you may not be able to speak at all.
  • Vocal cord paresis or paralysis. The vocal cords can be paralyzed, or partially paralyzed.
  • Spasmodic dysphonia. This is a nerve problem that causes the vocal cords to spasm. It can make the voice sound tight, quivery, or jerky, hoarse, or groaning.

Swallowing

The ability to safely swallow is essential for adequate nutrition and hydration and preventing food from entering your lungs. Swallowing is a complex act that involves coordinated movement of muscles that make up three primary phases of the swallow: oral phase (mouth), pharyngeal phase (throat) and esophageal phase (food tube). When there is a problem in one or more of these phases, it is called dysphagia.