Loss of voice or hoarseness is the inability to effectively use the vocal cords (larynx) for speech. The medical terms for this symptom are dysphonia (voice changes) and aphasia (loss of voice). While speaking, air moves through the folds in the larynx which are responsible for producing sound vibrations. If there is swelling or blockage within the vocal cords, the vibrations change, causing changes or loss of voice. It is remarkable how small changes in vocal cord anatomy can lead to profound changes in voice – good or bad. The most common cause of loss of voice is inflammation of the larynx.
Inflammation of the larynx is caused by infection or strain in the voice. Voice abuse can lead to swollen vocal folds and unable to vibrate as needed for speech; This is one of the most common causes of voice problems. When there is an infection within the larynx caused by bacterial or viral organisms, the inflammation leads to swelling of the vocal folds. Loss of voice can also occur with any upper respiratory tract infection or severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis.
What causes Aphonia?
Loss of voice is often due to problems with the voice box (larynx). However, there are many causes, including:
Conditions that affect the vocal cords or airway, such as:
Laryngitis—caused by infections
Irritants, such as smoke or air pollution
Acid reflux from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Thickening, nodules, or polyps of the vocal cords
Muscle tension dysphonia
Laryngeal or thyroid cancer, or removal of the larynx
Diseases that affect the nerves and brain, such as myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
What Symptoms of Aphonia?
Inability to speak or make sound
Treatment of Aphonia?
Treatment depends on the cause. Laryngitis may be eased with:
Home care, such as:
Resting the voice and drinking plenty of fluids
Using a cool mist humidifier
Medicine, such as over-the-counter pain relievers
Depending on the cause, other treatments may be:
Voice therapy—if the condition is due to voice overuse or vocal nodules
Medicine to control acid reflux
Surgery to remove growths.
Prevention of Aphonia :
The risk of voice loss may be reduced by:
Avoiding irritants, such as:
Fumes and toxins.
Excessive talking, yelling or whispering.
Treating underlying conditions.