Vocal Cord Paralysis

Did you know your vocal cords do more than produce sound? They also help you breathe by preventing food, drink or saliva from entering your windpipe causing you to choke. When the nerve impulses to your voice box are disrupted, this is vocal cord paralysis. This can be caused by nerve damage during surgery, viral infections, trauma, and certain cancers. 

Symptoms include:

  • A breathy quality to your voice
  • Choking or coughing when swallowing food or drink
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Hoarseness
  • Inability to speak loudly
  • Ineffective coughing
  • Loss of gag reflex
  • Loss of vocal pitch
  • Noisy breathing
  • The need to take frequent breaths when speaking

If your vocal cord paralysis doesn’t heal on its own, surgery may be required to help you improve your ability to speak or swallow. 


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