Laryngology is a subspecialty under the ENT department at the CK Birla Hospital®. It is a branch of medicine that deals with diseases, disorders, and injuries related to the larynx, often known as the voice box. The location of the voice box is on the front end of the neck, which holds the vocal cords and is responsible for the production of sound, swallowing of food, and breathing. There are many conditions that can affect the larynx, and our team of experts can help manage and treat the issues related to the larynx. Our ENT surgeons take a multidisciplinary approach and work closely with our pulmonologists to treat airway and swallowing disorders involving the voice box and the throat. In addition, we offer the expertise of language and speech therapies for your complete treatment.
Factors affecting the larynx
Several factors can induce a variety of laryngeal diseases, which are either caused by any tension, strain, or injury to the vocal cords. - Continuous and excessive coughing - People addicted to smoking - Speaking either too loudly or too quietly - Shrieking or screaming - Singing too much Overusing your vocal cords may eventually lead to alterations in the voice, making it hoarse and raspy. If the hoarseness persists for more than 2-4 weeks without any clear and possible cause, visiting an ENT specialist might be the best solution.
There are several disorders that are caused by either vocal abuse, like overusing your vocal cords or misusing the vocal cords.
LaryngitisLaryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal cords or the voice box caused by overuse, misuse, irritation, and infection. One of the most common causes of laryngitis is a viral infection. Hoarseness, loss of voice, sore throat, dry throat or dry cough, and severe tickling sensation in the throat are some of the most common symptoms of laryngitis. There are two types of laryngitis- acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term). Acute laryngitis normally goes away on its own after a few days. Treatment for chronic laryngitis focuses on the underlying cause, such as heartburn, smoking, chronic sinusitis, or overuse of your voice.
Vocal cord lesionsVocal cord lesions comprise three types of lesions: nodules, polyps, and cysts, which are benign (non-cancerous) growths. These lesions are linked to vocal damage or overuse. Vocal nodules, vocal polyps, and vocal cysts result from overusing vocal cords by professionals whose professions demand excessive vocals like teachers, singers, lawyers, theatre artists, etc.). Vocal polyps can be caused by excessive or misuse of the voice, but a single event of vocal abuse can also cause them. On the other hand, Vocal cord cysts are growths that are less prevalent than vocal nodules and vocal polyps.
Vocal cord haemorrhageA vocal haemorrhage might lead to sudden loss of voice due to leakage of blood from a damaged artery into the vocal fold. Excessive screaming, shouting, and excessive use of vocal activities that require a lot of vocal effort might trigger a vocal haemorrhage. A blood vessel rupture causes a buildup of blood within the vocal folds, known as a vocal haemorrhage.
Vocal cord paralysisParalysis can happen when one or both the vocal cords do not function normally. Even if one of the cords is paralysed, the voice may become weak, making it difficult to speak or even to eat or drink liquids as the food may enter the trachea and lungs, causing difficulty in swallowing and increasing the possibility of choking. There can be several causes behind vocal paralysis, some common reasons are stroke, tumour, head, neck, or chest injury, lung or thyroid cancer.
Laryngeal cancerThere is uncontrollable cell development in cancer, and laryngeal cancer is cancer of the larynx, a portion of the throat, or the voice box. Excessive smoking, consuming alcohol, and chewing tobacco are all known to raise the risk of laryngeal cancer. Laryngeal cancer treatment involves removing part or all of the larynx, but the proper diagnosis is necessary before moving ahead with the treatment.
DysphagiaDysphagia is a disorder in which swallowing food or liquid is difficult. The transfer of food or drink from the mouth to the stomach starts to seem like a painful and challenging activity. Persistent dysphagia might be a significant medical problem that needs immediate assistance.
An ENT specialist is usually the best expert to diagnose the diseases of the larynx. The healthcare provider starts by examining the throat and larynx through a physical exam. The exam may involve the insertion of a small flexible tube with a camera or mirror to look inside the throat. Once the right diagnosis is made, the next line of treatment will be suggested to the patient, and our experts, once given a green signal, will start the treatment. An ENT expert may recommend additional tests like-
- Imaging tests
The treatment plan for the larynx will depend on the diagnosis made by the ENT specialist. At the CK Birla Hospital, our ENT experts will take all possible factors into consideration and then suggest a treatment plan because treatment for disorders of the larynx are customised as per the patient’s needs and concerns. In some extreme cases, like laryngeal cancer, chemotherapy might be suggested depending on the severity of the condition. For clearing any doubts related to your treatment, consult a specialist. Following are some of the general treatment options suggested by an ENT specialist to treat voice disorders.
- Lifestyle changes
- Speech therapy
- Prescribed medication
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Laryngeal diseases are a result of excessive usage of vocal cords. Laryngeal diseases can cause the vocal cords to paralyse or lead to abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells in the larynx leading to laryngeal cancer.
Laryngitis can be caused by a respiratory infection, like sinusitis or cold. Unwanted and excessive exposure to smoking and alcohol can also lead to laryngitis.
To clear your voice box, an ENT specialist may suggest certain remedies and prescribe medication to soothe the vocal cords, which can help clear the mucus.
If your throat is not causing you any difficulty while eating food or drinking liquid and you are having no trouble while breathing or swallowing, it clearly indicates that your throat is healthy.