Each person’s voice is unique, defining our identity. It occurs when air passes from the lungs through the larynx. Therefore, the paralysis of the vocal cords, hinders functions such as speech, breathing, swallowing food and affects the quality of life. Mainly due to the fact that many times we apply unnecessary efforts when yelling, smoking or talking too much.
This condition commonly occurs unilaterally, affecting the left vocal cord. Because the laryngeal nerve on this side covers a longer path from the brain stem to the larynx, increasing the risk of injury and adverse pathologies. Whose causes may have a neoplastic, traumatic or idiopathic origin.
Preventing it from becoming a serious condition
It is rare in adults for both vocal cords to become paralyzed, but if this happens, it becomes a serious condition that needs to be addressed promptly. Since, when the vibration ceases, the voice disappears. But, they also stop fulfilling the function of protecting the respiratory tract, by preventing food or any type of substances from passing into the windpipe.
Vocal cord paralysis is caused by the interruption of nerve impulses reaching the glottis. Some of its symptoms are unilateral hemiplegia, with loss of vocal tone, noisy breathing, weak gag reflex, hoarseness, problems swallowing food and difficulty speaking loudly for long periods of time.1
Injuries associated with surgery to the neck, chest, throat or chest can affect the vocal cords, blocking them temporarily or permanently. Likewise, the interruption of blood flow to the brain caused by a cardiovascular accident, infections, inflammations and neurological disorders, increase the chances of a paralysis of these vocal folds.2
Healthcare professionals use diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, laryngoscopy, and electromyography, to determine the severity of the problem. However, they make recommendations before any treatment. Which include taking alternative measures such as not ingesting cold drinks at once, not overusing your voice, avoiding the risk of contracting infectious diseases, maintaining a healthy diet, and consulting your family doctor in the presence of any discomfort.
Currently, there are many therapeutic and surgical techniques that help alleviate the symptoms caused by vocal cord paralysis, depending on the patient’s condition and his clinical picture. Thus, vocal reeducation and electrical stimulation are alternatives adopted in mild cases. Since, surgery that includes injection of mass, structural implants, tissue relocation or tracheostomy, is established in more severe cases.3
Vocal cord paralysis is a condition that must be watched. Especially because it is possible that they are derived from oncological pathologies, which, if not treated in time, can put the individual’s life at risk. Therefore, taking preventive measures, such as making good use of your voice, carrying out regular check-ups and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, reduce the risks. Removing diseases and improving living conditions.
- Ana Graciela M Saavedra-Mendoza, Matsuharu Akaki-Caballero. Evidence-based dysphonia clinical practice guide. An. Orl. Mex. [Internet] 2014 [consultado 9 abril 2021]; 59 (3): 195-208. Available in:
- 2. O. Busto Crespo, M. Uzcaga Lacabe, A. Abad Marco, I. Berasategui, L. García, S. Aguilera Albesa, S. Fernández González. Unilateral vocal cord paralysis: study of vocal quality after speech therapy. An. Syst. Sanit. Navar. [internet] 2016 [ consultado 9 abril 2021]; 39 (1): 69-74. Available in:
3.Mayoclinic. Vocal cord paralysis. Available in: