Vocal cord nodules: reason for hoarseness?
Hoarseness and a rough voice may be a vocal cord nodule. This disease is also commonly referred to as a singer's node or teacher node. Because especially people who speak or sing a lot suffer from such a change in the vocal fold and the resulting restriction of the voice due to an overload. But also in children the nodules often form, which are often called screaming nodules. For the therapy, first of all, voice protection and voice therapy exercises are used. The healing process can be supported with natural treatment methods.
Definition: what are vocal cord nodules?
Voice overload can lead to swelling of the mucous membrane on the vocal folds in the larynx. If this overuse persists, nodules can develop from the thickening. These vocal cord nodules or vocal cord nodules, which are usually located on both sides in the middle, then cause an organically induced voice disorder (dysphonia).
Vocal cord nodules: symptoms
The nodules primarily cause a slight to moderate deterioration in the quality and performance of the voice. Speaking or singing can be very stressful for those affected. Usually there is hoarseness and a rough voice. Shortened tone holding times and a limitation of the tonal range are also possible. It can also happen that people suffer from constant coughing or coughing.
Causes and risk factors
It is suspected that (with the appropriate disposition) a heavy strain on the voice can cause the organic changes on the vocal folds. This happens regardless of age in (small) children, primarily through frequent and very loud screaming (screaming nods), or in adults, primarily through constant loud talking or singing.
Teachers and educators or employees in switchboards are often affected. In addition, people with hearing loss who have become accustomed to speaking very loud have an increased risk of developing nodules.
Overloading of the vocal folds and vocal cords can also be caused unconsciously if, for example, you speak with too much force. This can be promoted by an internal and physical tension, by a wrong breathing technique as well as by an unfavorable posture.
In addition, factors such as dry air or (cigarette) smoke can also lead to a corresponding irritation, which causes nodules to form.
If there is a persistent voice disorder, specialist advice from the area of ear, nose and throat medicine (ENT) should be consulted. During the medical examination, using special techniques and various devices, the vocal folds can be viewed and their movement can also be assessed. Laryngoscopy is often performed for this purpose.
Vocal cord nodules: treatment
Treatment should always be built up; Gentle therapeutic measures come first.
First of all, it is important to let your own voice rest or to spare it. If possible, talk or singing should be avoided for a certain period of time. In addition, voice therapy (speech therapy) can help normalize voice formation and thus prevent overloading.
In voice therapy, unfavorable breathing patterns are worked out, especially during the speaking process. With specific exercises on the perception and physiological use of breathing and speaking organs, you learn to avoid rubbing your vocal cords. This work is very playful for children.
Therapy in children should ideally also be supplemented by systemic counseling or other forms of family counseling if the cause of the vocal cord nodules is an excessive and loud screaming. If one analyzes the behavior and the family environment, it may be possible to counteract the vocal overload by means of an adapted counseling concept or different approaches from psychotherapy.
Medicines are used very rarely, but sometimes measures such as inhalation or stimulation current therapy (TENS) are used so that the changes on the mucosa regress as much as possible. In addition, it is always advisable to avoid harmful stimuli such as smoking.
If the methods mentioned are not sufficient, the nodules are usually surgically removed. In most cases these operations are successful and only very rare complications (scarring) lead to permanent voice changes. Nevertheless, voice therapy is usually recommended after such an intervention to prevent a new development.
Holistic treatment for vocal cord nodules
The symptomatic treatment can be supported from a naturopathic or holistic perspective with various methods. These include, for example, various home remedies for hoarseness, which can not only be used for healing but also for prevention. Natural active ingredients for the regeneration and protection of the overused mucous membranes in the larynx contain medicinal plants such as marshmallow root and Icelandic moss.
Simple measures, such as placing damp cloths on the heating, can also ensure adequate air humidity in the living room and thus reduce the attraction of dry air on the vocal cords. Gargling with a salt solution is also recommended for moistening and relief. (jvs, cs)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. rer. nat. Corinna Schultheis
- Pschyrembel: Clinical dictionary. 267th, revised edition, De Gruyter, 2017
- German Federal Association for Speech Therapy (ed.): Dbl website - organically related voice disorders, access: 09.09.2019, dbl-ev.de
- Tadeus Nawka: Vocal cord nodules, in: Language, voice, hearing: The magazine for communication disorders, edition 37 (03) / 2013, Georg Thieme Verlag, language, voice, hearing
- Reiter, Rudolf, Hoffmann, Thomas Karl, Pickhar, Anja and Sibylle Brosch: Hoarseness - Causes and Therapy, in: Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, Issue 112 (19) / 2015, aerzteblatt.de
ICD codes for this disease: J38.2ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find yourself e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.