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Striking the wrong chord

Screaming at the top of your voice every time you lose your temper can cause more trouble than giving you a bad throat. Doctors say misuse of voice, or rather, overuse of voice can lead to vocal fold ruptures, reports Jaya Shroff.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 28, 2008 02:01 IST
Jaya Shroff

Screaming at the top of your voice every time you lose your temper can cause more trouble than giving you a bad throat. Doctors say misuse of voice, or rather, overuse of voice can lead to vocal fold ruptures.

Initially, the problems may not be alarming. The symptoms could be anything from discomfort in speaking to an unsteady low pitch, a breaking voice, loss of vocal range, irritation in throat, urge to cough or a shrill, thin or coarse voice.

Though a good night’s sleep or a quiet holiday can take care of these symptoms, doctors warn that if they persist, they could signal a long-term and sometimes an irreversible problem. There could even be a gradual escalation of the problem with the symptoms becoming more and more frequent or troublesome.

In severe cases, there is inflammation of the larynx. Vocal nodules, tumours or ulcers can occur. The medical term for such disorders is dysphonia. “The condition is not just an inability to speak, but also includes pain, tension, croakiness, cough, inability to modulate, poor or no vocal power and breathing difficulties,” said Dr K.K. Handa, associate professor with the ENT department at AIIMS.

Doctors say tension at workplace and an overload of work can worsen the problem. “When patients approach us with problems, we suggest they take sessions with a speech therapist. We guide them about vocal hygiene. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the problem — like in case of polyps — surgery is the only option,” said Dr Ameet Kishore at Apollo Hospital.