Both vocal fold paralysis is uncommon and can be fatal. The vocal folds are two elastic bands of muscular tissue found right above the trachea (windpipe) in the larynx (voice box). They play an important role in producing sound when speaking or singing. Vocal fold paralysis can be either acute or chronic.
Acute vocal fold paralysis occurs when the nerve that controls the vocal fold muscles becomes injured. This may be due to trauma to the neck, such as from a car accident; from performing cricothyrotomy (opening of the throat to allow air to pass into the lungs), which is done for emergency ventilation of the lungs; or from removing a lymph node near the voice box. Other causes include cancer treatment (such as radiation therapy) that affects the head and neck area, especially if chemotherapy is also used; infection; and idiopathic (unknown cause).
Chronic vocal fold paralysis is usually the result of damage to the nerves that control the vocal fold muscles over time. This may be caused by repeated inflammation or tumor growth that presses on the nerves, or it may be due to the natural progression of disease affecting the brainstem or spinal cord that controls these nerves. Chronic vocal fold paralysis can be either unilateral or bilateral.
Unilateral vocal fold paralysis means that only one side of the voice box is affected.
Most cases of vocal cord paralysis affect only one vocal cord. Both of your voice chords being paralyzed is an uncommon but dangerous ailment. This can result in voice issues as well as substantial breathing and swallowing difficulties. Patients with one-vocal-cord paralysis are generally advised to use a speech processor that converts electrical signals into the necessary sound patterns.
If you have one-vocal-cord paralysis, speaking in a loud voice or using audio recording devices may cause damage to your remaining healthy voice chord. To protect your healthy voice chord, it is important to identify patients with one-vocal-cord paralysis so that appropriate treatment can be provided before any further injury occurs.
Patients with one-vocal-cord paralysis usually experience symptoms such as hoarseness, breathlessness, strangling sensations when trying to talk, pain around the neck area, inability to produce certain sounds (such as s's or z's), and difficulty swallowing. In some cases, patients may feel weak in the arms and legs or suffer from insomnia due to sleep disturbances caused by their vocal cord paralysis.
The majority of patients with one-vocal-cord paralysis are adults over 50 years old. However, children can also suffer from this condition.
A breathy voice is one of the signs and symptoms of vocal cord paralysis. Hoarseness Loud breathing Vocal pitch deterioration
Other signs and symptoms include: Difficulty speaking Certain words or phrases Feeling like you're going to choke when you eat or drink Affected by your mood Swelling of the face, neck, or tongue
These problems should be taken seriously because they can be indicators of a more serious medical condition. You should see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms repeatedly over time.
Vocal cord damage can be caused by trauma to the throat or neck, such as from heavy drinking or smoking. It can also be caused by disease, such as thyroid cancer or lupus. The voice box is called the larynx. The cords that produce sound when pushed down by air flow between them and the voice box are called the vocal cords. They are attached to the larynx at one end and free to move back and forth within the body of the voice box (thyroid cartilage) at its other end. The muscles that control movement of the vocal cords are called the vocal muscles. They are made up of two sets, the abductors which pull them away from the body and the adductors which bring them toward it.
When you breathe, your vocal folds remain open, however when you swallow, they close firmly. This action prevents food from entering your airway.
When you swallow, a series of muscle movements take place in your throat and neck in order to move food through your esophagus and into your stomach. As you swallow, pieces of food will accumulate in your mouth until it is full. Then you would naturally pause and begin again if you were still hungry or not if you felt like continuing eating. During each swallow, the muscles at the back of your tongue pull down on the front part of your tongue which triggers the opening and closing of the soft palate, uvula, and epiglottis. These are all parts of your pharynx (throat cavity). The muscles that control these movements are also involved in speaking; therefore, being able to swallow safely is essential for safe breathing and speech.
Swallowing involves several distinct phases: oral, pharyngeal, esophageal, and respiratory.
In the oral phase, you begin by breaking down solid foods into smaller pieces with your teeth. Next, you pour liquid foods and drinks into your mouth.
When the nerve impulses to your voice box (larynx) are interrupted, vocal cord paralysis ensues. The vocal cord muscles are paralyzed as a result. Vocal cord paralysis can impair your ability to communicate and even breathe. Because your vocal cords, also known as vocal folds, do more than merely make sound. They help control the flow of air into and out of your lungs. When they are paralyzed, you will be unable to speak without using a microphone.
Vocal cord paralysis can be permanent or temporary. In some cases, the nerves that connect to the vocal cords may be damaged by disease or trauma. In these cases, the vocal cords will not recover their normal function. People with such damage are said to have acute vocal cord paralysis. Chronic vocal cord paralysis involves prolonged loss of muscle tone in the area of the larynx. People with chronic vocal cord paralysis can sometimes regain some degree of movement of their cords; however, this movement is often limited to specific positions that allow for breathing. People who suffer from chronic vocal cord paralysis are said to have incomplete recovery.
People can become paralysed temporarily when one of the nerves connecting them to the brain dies during surgery. This usually results in an inability to speak for several hours, but it can also lead to complete paralysis. After surgery, patients are given medications to prevent spasms of the remaining nerves. These patients will eventually recover the use of their voices once the drugs are stopped.