There are several different types of vocal cord damage that can be caused by many different factors from illness to vocal cord injury. Injury can be caused in many ways, including medical procedures. Vocal cord abuse is a big contributor to damage, but the good news is that it is frequently avoidable.
One of the diseases associated with vocal cord damage, which may prove surprising to some, is gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This disease may also be referred to as gastric or acid reflux disease, and occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Many people think they are experiencing simple heartburn, but if chronic, acid reflux can damage the vocal cords, including causing ulcers.
Different types of infection can also cause vocal cord damage. A vocal polyp can create problems as well. A polyp is a small, non-cancerous growth and can be the result of thyroid disease. In other cases, it may be caused or aggravated by chronic smoking.
Damage the vocal cords can be caused by various injuries including surgical injuries and intubations. A tube inserted in the throat can create inflammation and bruising or result in nerve damage or vocal cord paralysis. Vocal cord dislocation may also occur. The latter can cause more serious problems than simple laryngitis, and may result in difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Vocal cord abuse can be serious, but it is fortunately one of the most preventable sources of vocal cord damage. Abuse, if continued or untreated, may cause a complete change in the voice, temporary loss of voice, or cause permanent damage. Abusing the vocal cords typically means using the voice too much or in an inappropriate way, such as screaming.
Overuse or misuse can also be a contributor to such problems. This can occur when a person must spend time rehearsing for a singing, speaking, or acting performance. Those who must use high or low pitch or who do impressions or sound effects may find their vocal cords becoming irritated. The effects of oveuse or minor misuse tend to be milder and temporary, although overuse can turn into abuse.
Treatment for vocal cord damage can include simple things like changing or breaking bad habits or performing exercises, but will sometimes require surgery. Anyone who suspects that he or she is suffering from vocal cord problems should consult with a health care provider. Waiting may cause the condition to become more serious.