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Vocal fold paralysis: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help


There are a variety of possible causes including surgical trauma such as heart, lung and breast surgeries that involve the laryngeal nerve, or thyroidectomy and endarterectomy. Also cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, accidental trauma, intubation, or bronoscopy are also common causes.

These vary depending on the specific paralysis, unilateral (one vocal fold) or bilateral ( both vocal folds).

Clients present with:

  • A weak hoarse voice.
  • A weak cough.
  • Reduced vocal variety.
  • Complaint of physical tiredness due to the extra effort required to speak.


Work focuses upon trying to reduce the gap between the vocal folds which is allowing excess air to escape and resulting in a hoarse whisper type voice quality, along with reducing the physical effort required to speak.
Posture exercises, compensation exercises aimed at building up the mobile vocal fold along with specific speech techniques to protect the mobile cord from over exertion.