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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

Symptoms can vary, depending on the vocal cord disorder.

  • Vocal cord nodules

    • Hoarseness

    • Low-pitched voice

    • Breathy voice

    • Singers may notice a loss of vocal range.

  • Vocal cord polyps

    • Hoarseness

    • Low-pitched voice

    • Breathy voice

  • Contact ulcers

    • Some throat pain while talking

    • Possible hoarseness

    • A voice that tires easily

  • Laryngitis

    • A change in the sound of the voice, from hoarseness to croaking or complete loss of voice

    • If due to an infection:

      • Fever

      • Throat pain

      • Malaise

      • A feeling of having to clear your throat

  • Vocal cord tumors

    • Hoarseness

    • With large tumors, possibly trouble breathing or swallowing

  • Vocal cord paresis

    • Changes in the voice:

      • Hoarse

      • Breathy

      • Change of pitch

      • Unable to get louder

    • Discomfort from the strain of trying to move paralyzed cords

    • Possible breathing difficulties

Page 2 of 9     Next Page:  Vocal-Cord Disorders Diagnosis
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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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