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UR Medicine / Otolaryngology (ENT) / Speech Pathology / Our Services / Vocal Fold Paralysis & Paresis


Vocal Fold Paralysis & Paresis

What is vocal fold paralysis / paresis?

Vocal fold paralysis and paresis are terms which refer to reduced mobility of one or both vocal folds.  Paralysis indicates a complete loss of motion, while paresis refers to a weakening with some retained mobility. Both paralysis and paresis are a result of nerve injury, which can result from surgical trauma, underlying disease, tumors, and other factors. Vocal fold paralysis and paresis can impact vocal quality, ease of breathing, and ability to swallow foods and liquids safely.

Speech-Language Pathology Evaluation & Therapy

Our Speech-Language Pathologists, who have specialty training and expertise in voice disorders, assessment and treatment, will complete a personalized assessment of your voice. Assessment may include:

  • A detailed history collection
  • Laryngeal Function Studies consisting of computerized voice analysis and airway measures
  • Behavioral voice and communication analysis
  • Stimulability trials

Prior to the initiation of voice therapy, a laryngeal examination must be completed in order to identify the etiology of your individual voice problem and determine the most appropriate course of treatment.

If you are recommended for voice therapy, your therapy program may include some or all of the following techniques:

  • Strengthen and re-balance laryngeal and pharyngeal musculature, including the muscles, joints and ligaments used in voice production
  • Learn techniques for producing a healthy voice while eliminating overuse or abuse
  • Exercise laryngeal muscles
  • Create a healthy motor pattern and balance pressures to achieve the ideal configuration of your vocal folds for voice use
  • Learn suppression and breathing strategies to minimize coughing or throat clearing (if this is a problem for you)

Additional Information

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders – Vocal Fold Paralysis

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association – Vocal Fold Paralysis