Your physician at Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of South Florida is dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of laryngeal, voice and swallowing disorders.
Our Board Certified and Fellowship trained physicians and staff provide state-of-the art medical and surgical care for patients of all ages with a wide variety of disorders.
Many people experience voice problems that do not go away by clearing the throat. Vocal disorders develop for many reasons, ranging from vocal abuse to allergies or sometimes cancer. The physicians at Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of South Florida are skilled in the treatment and diagnosis of all voice disorders.
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box (larynx). Symptoms are an unnatural change of voice, such as hoarseness, or even loss of voice that develops within hours to a day or so. The throat may tickle or feel raw, and a person may have a constant urge to clear the throat. Symptoms vary with the severity of the inflammation.
Vocal cord nodules/polyps
Vocal cord nodules are small growths on both vocal folds that are caused by vocal abuse. Polyps can appear on either one or both vocal cords. Their appearance varies from a swelling or bump (like a nodule) to a stalk-like growth or a blister-like lesion.
Vocal cord paralysis
Everyone has two vocal cords in his or her larynx (voicebox). The vocal cords vibrate during speech to produce voice. If one or both vocal cords are paralyzed and are unable to move then the person will experience voice problems and possibly breathing and swallowing problems.
Bilateral paralysis is often medically treated but may require a tracheotomy to allow the person to breathe and/or eat safely. Surgery may be considered to bring one or both vocal cords closer to midline. Unilateral paralysis can be treated medically and/or behaviorally. Medical treatment includes muscle-nerve transplant, medialization thyroplasty (moving the paralyzed vocal fold toward midline), or injection of a substance to increase the size of the paralyzed vocal cord. Behavioral treatment includes voice therapy by a speech-language therapist. Depending on the individual patient’s condition, it may be the only treatment required.
Spasmodic dysphonia is a disorder characterized by involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the larynx or voice box. The first signs of spasmodic dysphonia are most often found in individuals between 30 and 50 years old. More women appear to be affected by spasmodic dysphonia than men. With spasmodic dysphonia, movement of the vocal cords is forced and strained resulting in a jerky, quivery, hoarse, tight or groaning voice.
At present, there is no cure for spasmodic dysphonia. However, several treatment options do exist for voice improvement. Repeat injections of small doses of botulinum toxin (Botox) into one or both vocal cords are frequently recommended. Botox weakens the laryngeal muscles and results in a smoother, less effortful voice because of less forceful closing of the vocal cords. Temporary breathiness or difficulty swallowing sometimes occurs for a short time after injection. Treatment by a speech-language therapist may also be recommended following injections to optimize voice production.
Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) is common among all age groups, especially the elderly. Many patients with swallowing disorders can be treated with medication. Drugs that slow stomach acid production, muscle relaxants and antacids are a few of the many medicines available. Surgery is used to treat certain swallowing problems. If a narrowing exists, or a muscle is too tight, the area may need to be stretched or the muscle may need to be released surgically.