Vocal Cord Nodules and Polyps

Vocal-cord-nodules-and-polyps

Vocal nodules, which are small, benign (noncancerous) growths on the vocal cords, are among the most common voice disorders directly related to vocal abuse.

Vocal nodules, which are small, benign (noncancerous) growths on the vocal cords, are among the most common voice disorders directly related to vocal abuse. This condition is often called “singer’s nodes” because it is a frequent problem among professional singers.

• Vocal nodules are callous-like growths that usually form in pairs, one on each vocal fold. They form at the area that receives the most pressure when the folds come together to vibrate. The nodules develop from damage caused by repeated pressure on the same area much like a callous forms on areas of a person’s feet that are irritated by tight shoes. The voice of a person who has vocal nodules usually sounds hoarse, low-pitched, and slightly breathy.

• A vocal polyp, also called Reinke’s edema or polypoid degeneration, is a benign growth that is similar to a vocal nodule but is softer, more like a blister than a callous. It most often forms on only one vocal cord. A vocal polyp is often associated with long-term cigarette smoking but may also be linked to hypothyroidism (decreased activity of the thyroid gland which is involved in the growth and development of children and energy control in adults), gastroesophageal reflux, or chronic vocal misuse. People who develop a vocal polyp usually have a low-pitched, hoarse, breathy voice, similar to the voices of people who have vocal nodules.

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