A voice is a defining characteristic. So, a change in how your voice sounds can be unnerving, especially if it lasts for more than a few days.
Voice changes can be caused by a handful of different factors, including:
Spasmodic dysphonia is a neurologic disorder that can cause vocal changes. It involves involuntary spasms of the muscles of the larynx (voice box). This can make the voice break or make it sound tight and strained.
Typically, the symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia develop between ages 30 and 50. It’s a life-long condition, but may be helped with treatments including Botox injections.
Growths on The Vocal Cords
Nodules, cysts, polyps, and cancerous growths on the vocal cords can lead to voice changes.
Vocal cord nodules, polyps, and cysts are all benign (noncancerous growths). But, they can change your voice, causing it to sound hoarse or raspy. Additionally, your voice may come and go as you talk, as the growths prevent the normal vibration of the vocal cords.
Cancerous or precancerous growths on the vocal cords can have a similar effect on your voice. To ensure that cancerous vocal cord growths are identified as early as possible, visit your doctor if you experience vocal changes for two weeks or longer.
Vocal Cord Paralysis
Vocal cord paralysis occurs when you lose control of the muscles that manage your voice due to disrupted nerve signals to the larynx. With this condition, it’s difficult to speak, and your voice may sound hoarse, breathy, or quiet.
Treatment for vocal cord paralysis may involve voice therapy to strengthen the vocal cords or, in severe cases, surgery.