Tag Archives: Voice Disorder

What is a Voice Disorder?

Greetings everyone!  I am back for week five of Better Hearing and Speech Month (2017).  I know May has already passed, but I want to fulfill my obligation of presenting a topic, each week, for Better Hearing and Speech Month (2017).  This last week’s topic is “What is a Voice Disorder?”  Let’s take a closer look at “What is a Voice Disorder?”

A voice disorder is a disturbance of pitch, loudness, or quality in relation to an individual’s age, gender and cultural background.  Voice disorders are identified on the basis of a listener’s judgment rather than by any absolute or standardized criteria for normal voice production.  The term dysphonia refers to any deviation in phonation, whereas aphonia is a term used to indicate the absence of audible phonation.

In the normal production of voice, the airstream is generated by the lungs.  As the air passes through the larynx, the vocal folds are set into vibratory motion, which results in the production of sound (i.e., phonation).  The sound continues to travel through the upper vocal tract and is modified by the resonating characteristics of the pharynx and oral and nasal cavities.

Classification of Voice Disorders

Traditionally, voice disorders have been classified as either organic or functional. Organic voice disorders result from pathology or disease that affects the anatomy or physiology of the larynx and other regions of the vocal tract.  Functional voice disorders are dysphonias related to vocal abuse/misuse or psychogenic factors in the absence of an identifiable physical etiology.

Examples of Organic vs. Functional Voice Problems

Organic                                                        Functional

Vocal fold paralysis                                    Abuse/misuse
Laryngeal webs                                          Vocal nodules
Papilloma                                                     Contact ulcers
Edema                                                           Ventricular dysphonia
Tumor                                                           Psychogenic
Granuloma                                                  Conversion dysphonia
Neurologic/endocrine disease                 Mutational falsetto

It is my hope that you have gained an understanding of “What is a Voice Disorder?”  If you suspect that your child (or even yourself) exhibits any signs/symptoms of voice problems, please, first, consult with your primary care doctor to determine the etiology. The doctor may prescribe medication to address the problem and/or elicit the involvement of a Speech-language pathologist.

It has been a pleasure educating those of you who have read the information I have presented, each week, for Better Hearing and Speech Month (2017)!  I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share with you a little about the field of Speech-language pathology as well as what we do!  Even though Better Hearing and Speech Month (2017) has ended, it doesn’t mean I have to stop providing pertinent information to you all regarding “hot topics” in the field of Speech-language pathology!  Please check back, soon, for additional posts!  I would love to begin a discussion on “Autism.”  This is a very “hot topic” that intrigues many…As always, thank you for reading!


Roth, Froma P. and Worthington, Colleen K.  Treatment Resource Manual for Speech-Language Pathology 2nd Edition.  Albany:  Singular Thomson Learning, 2001.  Print.

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Posted by on June 2, 2017 in Uncategorized


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