What causes vocal nodules?
Vocal nodules are caused by vocal abuse or misuse. They can occur from just one episode of vocal abuse, or they can occur slowly over time. Allergies, alcohol, and tobacco use may also contribute to the formation of vocal folds. As the vocal cords come together to produce sound, they are prone to damage if the voice is misused. For example, shouting or talking too loudly, making strange or cartoon noises, and excessive coughing can have a detrimental affect on the voice. The vocal tissue reacts to the stress and forms a nodule on the anterior third of the vocal fold.
What does the voice sound like with vocal nodules?
The most common symptom of vocal nodules is hoarseness and breathiness. There may be a pain associated in the larynx area as well. Singers and actors often complain of being unable to reach a certain pitch that they previously were able to.
How are vocal nodules diagnosed and treated?
A referral from an otolaryngologist (ENT) is required before starting speech therapy. At our Brooklyn speech therapy center, we provide voice therapy for vocal nodules. Therapy for vocal nodules is often short (7-9 sessions), although some cases require more sessions.
“The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) supports the use of voice therapy to treat dysphonia."
Treatment begins with a case history and evaluation. We will review best practices for vocal hygiene, and work with you to eliminate all vocally abusive behaviors. Diaphragmatic breathing exercises, easy onset of vowels, resonance exercises, airflow practice, and reducing laryngeal tension are some voice therapy activities for vocal nodules.
Home practice exercises and charts are great with children, especially when used with a reward system for good vocal behavior. With young clients, we also send a letter to the school teacher to remind the child while in school about proper vocal hygiene.
Voice rest alone will not be enough to treat vocal nodules. If vocal nodules are not treated, you may damage your voice permanently!
Please call our Brooklyn speech therapy center at 347-871-8533 to make an appointment.