Hoarse voice

Your voice matters to us.
Dysphonia (hoarse voice), or aphonia (no voice), are common presentations to the ENT Surgeon. It’s mostly brief and transient, but if it’s persistent, could it be cancer?

We’ve all experienced hoarse voice at some stage in our lives – after yelling at the footy field, after a cold, or after a big night out. The vocal cords are a pair of ligamentous structures at the level of the “Adam’s Apple” covered in multiple fine layers of mucosa with delicate waves of vibration.

Anything that affects the fine vibration such as cyst, nodule or haematoma will cause a change in vibration quality. Anything that affects the muscular length, tension, and closure patency of both cords will cause dysphonia. Persistent hoarse voice should be investigated as it could be due to cancer of the voice box, neuromuscular disorders or inflammation. A diagnosis of laryngeal cancer, Parkinson’s disease, muscle tension dysphonia, even rheumatoid arthritis may present with hoarse voice.

A voice assessment will include a clinical and flexible endoscopic examination of the cords with or without stroboscopy. A small four mm flexible camera will be inserted though the nasal passages to view the dynamic movements of the cords. Treatment may include medication, surgery or voice therapy by a trained voice professional. Operating on the vocal cords may include the use of laser, cold steel microscopic long handled instruments, or injection under the microscope. To keep current, Dr Levi is a member of the Laryngology Society of Australasia and works in conjunction with other Speech Pathologists and Voice Professionals around Melbourne.

Getting an expert assessment and opinion is always a good first step. Please contact us for an appointment. Dr Levi is also available to provide educational talks on this topic.