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What are vocal fold nodules?

This vocal pathology is one of the most talked about amongst singers and occupational voice users. The good news is that whilst they are common, nodules can often be successfully remediated without surgery using effective voice therapy techniques.

So, what are they?

Vocal nodules are benign, often bilateral growths on the edges of the vocal folds. These growths are callous like and cause interference with the regular vibratory pattern of the vocal folds.

What are they caused by?

Nodules are caused by the misuse of the voice over time. However, there may be may contributing factors to consider and vocal misuse is often a secondary issue stemming from other underlying health conditions.

Who can get them?

Although anyone can get nodules, they are most commonly seen in individuals with a heavy vocal load. Occupational voice users such as singers, classroom teachers, sports coaches, telemarketers, public speakers and fitness instructors are at a higher risk of developing nodules. Females are also at a higher risk of developing nodules.

What are the signs and symptoms?

ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) list the following as signs and symptoms of vocal nodules:

  • hoarseness

  • breathiness

  • a rough or scratchy voice

  • changes in pitch accessibility

  • voice tiredness

What should I do if I think I have nodules?

Book in to see a voice specialising laryngologist. They will check your vocal folds and give you a diagnosis and recommended course of action to assist you moving forward. Voice therapy may be recommended with a voice specialising speech pathologist to regain optimal vocal function by reducing or eliminating the nodules.

Are you worried about your voice?

Book in for a vocal health screening.

Want to learn more about vocal health?

Join my five week course Voice Care For Occupational Voice Users.

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