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A vocal cord nodule is a lump of tissue which grows on the vocal fold meaning the folds cannot come together and close properly. This affects a person’s ability to produce voice effectively. An individual may find it painful to produce voice, have a hoarse voice quality, and have less of a range in their use of pitch and volume. Nodules always appear bilaterally (opposite each other) and are almost always due to stress on the voice. Teachers, politicians and singers are all more susceptible to nodules due to the way in which they use their voice.
A vocal cord nodule is a growth on the vocal cord caused by too much stress on the cords. This is known as vocal abuse. The longer a nodule is left the worse it will become. It will grow larger and over time become harder. Nodules always appear bilaterally, this means there will always be two nodules one on each fold. People who have to use their voice for work, such as singers and teachers are more susceptible to nodules and may develop them over a period of time.
The speech and language therapist will create an individualised voice programme for the individual, which will include advice, support and techniques on how to improve their vocal quality.
The cause of vocal cord nodules is vocal abuse as well as misuse of the voice. Below is a list of possible causes:
Nodules will not always develop if someone has any of these causes; however someone is more susceptible to nodules if they do have such conditions or work in such environments.
Speech and language therapy can help people who have vocal cord nodules and will work on the voice, speech sound and communication problems.
Speech and language therapy aims to work on aspects of the voice which are not being used, to the best of their ability. Speech and language therapy can therefore aim to discover new ways of using the voice in order to avoid excess strain and tension.
Speech and language therapy can help to alleviate vocal abuse and establish a more efficient way of using the voice so the individual can use their voice in a better capacity, with less strain and tension. Speech and language therapy will investigate the cause and discover whether a reduction in the exposed tension can be reduced, and if not, ways of coping with the situation and a structured therapy programme for that individual can be established.
Speech and language therapy can help improve any aspect of an individual's communication dependent on their needs. It can also help increase confidence and self-esteem whilst reducing anxiety when communicating with others.
Speech and language therapy for vocal fold nodules, may involve assessments, reports, reviews, therapy programmes, support groups, training, advice and education.
An initial assessment will be carried out by one of our speech and language therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties concerning the individual’s voice and communication. An initial assessment will also provide a chance for you to share any concerns you may have, and allow you to discuss what you would like to work on and improve.
Vocal fold nodules almost always occur as a pair. They are formed after a period of vocal abuse and can worsen if left over time. Speech and language therapy treats the cause of vocal cord nodules; therefore therapy will be a way of re-training and using the voice in a different way in order to get over the vocal stress and abuse.
We offer a free telephone consultation in order to discuss any concerns regarding your speech, language, voice or swallowing.