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Dysphonia (Loss of voice) : Definition, Mechanism, Causes, Chronic, Sign and Treatment

Tuesday, September 25th 2012. | General

Dysphonia Definition

The loss of voice alteration consists of a sound emitted by the larynx on one or more of its characteristics: intensity, pitch, timbre may be involved. Also known as dysphonia or more commonly hoarseness.

Dysphonia is a fairly common symptom reflecting a usually mild and transient inflammation of the larynx: acute laryngitis. This change is usually intermittent or permanent. 

Dysphonia development must lead to a visual examination of the larynx and vocal cords. It is necessary to find a benign tumor of the vocal cords, chronic laryngitis, but also precancerous lesions and even cancer.


It is the vibration of the mucosa covering the vocal cords under the influence of expiratory breath issuing the laryngeal sound. Many factors affect voice and these characteristics:

  • Local factors, anatomical vocal cords flexible, regular, smooth, white, with a good mobility and compete fully and regularly during phonation.
  • General factors and varied: age, sex, hormonal impregnation (sex hormones, thyroid), but also the quality of the bellows lung (which determines the coordination between breathing and speech) and the type of breathing, not to mention the tone Person of hyper-or hypokinetic.

Dysphonia Mechanism

Dysphonia is related to blockage of the vocal vibration.

It can be due either to an inflammatory condition of the mucosa, or a lack of vocal confrontation between them.

The issuance of the laryngeal sound is a complex mechanism come into play where the vibration and slipping of the mucosa of the vocal cord and the confrontation between the two vocal cords.

Any changes to this mucosal thickness, flexibility or mobility disrupts the spoken or sung.

Any change in the confrontation between the strings they can also cause vocal disorder.

Dysphonia Causes

The causes are dominated by inflammatory and tumor.

The inflammation of the vocal cords are behind the vast majority of e dysphonia.

It is usually acute inflammatory disorders (acute laryngitis, laryngeal boost or hematoma) that are causing an alteration of the vibration of the vocal cords and cause hoarseness.Problems cause the same inflammatory alterations.

Tumor pathology is congenital or acquired in two different ways: it modifies the mucosal vibration vocal cords but it can also be an obstacle to the confrontation of the vocal cords which therefore is no longer perfect.

Anomalies of the larynx mobility change, too, the quality of the vocal cords and confrontation can then be responsible for dysphonia.

Chronic Dysphonia

The chronic dysphonia have multiple causes.

They can be caused by benign vocal cords. Hoarseness of more than three weeks is considered chronic and requires a specialized ENT examination of the vocal cords and larynx because of the risk of laryngeal cancer beginner.

Many changes in the lining of the vocal cord, without prejudging their severity, can cause hoarseness. Dysphonia, key symptom of this disease is usually early and isolated. But the risk of cancer must always be borne in mind in the diagnosis and exploration of sustainable dysphonia. The notion of precancerous lesions can not be asserted as a sample of cells under a microscope with analysis.

The main lesions of the vocal cords are benign lesions of the vocal cords acquired (in the context of vocal abuse), the chordal nodule (thickening of the vocal cord associated with forcing voice), polyp cordal (usually single), the ectatic capillaries, contact ulcers, granuloma and benign lesions of the vocal cords cystic type.

Chronic laryngitis characterized by tissue changes of the mucosa lining the larynx, are caused mishandling the voice, smoking, exposure to toxic, infectious chronic condition of the pharynx or region “rhino-sinus.” Given the risk of cancer (higher in the case of chronic laryngitis white), the diagnosis requires the elimination of risk factors as well as regular monitoring.

Lastly, nerve damage causing laryngeal paralysis may be responsible for dysphonia.

Dysphonia Signs

The vocal signs are prominent and vocal symptoms should be assessed to the ear doctor.

Acute voice disorders begin in general, quite suddenly, most often in the form of a complete aphonia which turns into a few days hoarseness regressive. 

Acute dysphonia may also announce the beginning of a chronic condition.

Acute laryngitis is the most common cause of hoarseness in adults. It often occurs in the winter. The problem can also occur by vocal abuse or in women under hormonal influence of the premenstrual period. The associated signs are subtle: nasopharyngitis, mild fever, irritative cough, laryngeal pain.

Dysphonia (hoarseness) is the essential symptom of chronic laryngitis : intermittent at first, predominant end of the day, it gradually becomes permanent, even if it is variable in time.

One can observe episodes of aphonia (loss of voice), but rarely return to a normal voice.

This dysphonia is sometimes associated with irritative signs: throat clearing, pharyngeal discomfort, foreign body sensation, intermittent pain.

Dysphonia Treatment

Loss of voice treatment

Different therapeutic will try to act on each level to trigger the predominant voice of the disease in question: inflammatory or absence of vocal confrontation between them, whether a tumor or acquired defects or abnormal motility of the larynx. Whatever the treatment, vocal rest is crucial. It avoids forcing his voice during the acute episode and perpetuate the inflammatory speech by forcing superimposed.

Prepare your consultation

Facilier for your consultation with your doctor, here is some information and tips:

  • Papers to bring: your card and your vital cartre of mutual your last order.
  • Note the important information about this dysphonia: since when is it installed? It is variable in the day and at what times predominates she? Sounds have on your daily life? Do you have a current health problem that may be causing?Have you noticed any signs of local dysphonia can explain this?
  • Introduce yourself some risk factors that may explain this dysphonia tobacco, particular professional activity, working in noise, chronic inflammatory state in the upper airways?
  • In children: is it infectious or respiratory signs associated?Dysphonia is it new or old, from early childhood?
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