A Closer Look at Your Vocal Cords

Your vocal cords are more important than you may think. The ability to speak is just one of the functions your vocal cords provide. Understanding their duties and importance can help you keep them healthy. That’s why the healthcare professionals at ENT New York are giving you a closer look at your vocal cords.

What are vocal cords?

Your vocal cords, often referred to as vocal folds, are smooth folds of tissue found in your larynx, or voice box. These muscle tissues have three important functions:

Without the “check points” your vocal cords provide, breathing can become labored and your risk of choking increases.

How vocal cords work

The tissues that make up the vocal cords stretch across the top of the trachea — or windpipe — and are surrounded by the thyroid cartilage. The vocal cords, paired with the supporting cartilage and muscles, form the larynx, which serves as a stop-gap between the airway and esophagus.

The vocal folds open so you can breathe and close when you swallow to prevent any food from getting into your lungs. This process also manages air flow into your lungs. 

The way your vocal cords produce sound is quite fascinating. They’re covered by a thin layer of mucous membrane, called mucosa. When you talk, your larynx moves your vocal cords together, putting them in an almost closed position. Air then expels out from your lungs and goes through the larynx, causing your vocal cords to vibrate. As the vibrations travel, the upper part of your throat changes the sound, and voila — you speak.

Vocal cord disorders

If your vocal cords don’t move properly, they can’t perform their duties. The inability to function properly is referred to as a vocal cord disorder, and can be further classified as vocal fold immobility. This condition can be unilateral, affecting a single vocal cord, or bilateral, affecting both vocal cords.

Some common vocal cord disorders include:

These conditions are treatable, and even preventable. In most cases, vocal cord disorders arise from the misuse or abuse of one’s voice. Symptoms can include:

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or have concerns about your vocal cord health, come in for a voice/throat evaluation with our expert ENT, Dr. Vandana Kumra. During the exam, Dr. Kumra looks at your throat and vocal cords with a laryngoscope, a thin, flexible scope equipped with a light and camera. Once she diagnoses the problem, Dr. Kumra determines the treatment that works best for you. With treatment, vocal rest, and proper use of your voice, your vocal cords can be healthy again.

Your vocal cords do a lot to keep you healthy. Why not return the favor? To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kumra at our New York, New York, office, give us a call or book an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Endoscopy

Do you have persistent head, face, nose, or sinus problems? A nasal endoscopy gives your doctor a closer look at these areas, thanks to a thin tube with a camera on the end. Keep reading to see what to expect and how to prepare.

What Could Be Causing Your Goiter?

Do you have swelling at the base of your neck or a scratchy voice? These are just two signs of a goiter. If you have this relatively common problem, here’s what could be triggering your symptoms and why you shouldn’t ignore it.

Put an End to Your Chronic Sinusitis with PROPEL®

Do you live with persistent inflammation, drainage, or pain and tenderness in your sinus area? PROPEL® implants can help resolve chronic sinusitis symptoms by promoting healing where you need it most — your sinus tissues. Keep reading to learn more.

Which Type of Sleep Apnea Do You Have?

There’s more than one type of sleep apnea, which means it’s essential to know which type of this sleep disorder you have in order to find the most effective treatment. Keep reading to learn more.

Common Allergens To Know About

Do you have a runny nose? How about itchy, watery eyes? These are just a few signs of allergies. Keep reading to see which allergens people often react to and what could be triggering your symptoms.