Vocal cord nodules and polyps are benign growths that can alter the way your voice sounds. Learn more about these conditions and treatment options at Northwest ENT and Allergy Center.

Both vocal cord nodules and vocal cord polyps are types of benign lesions that grow on the folds of the vocal cords, causing hoarseness and voice changes. 

Vocal cord nodules, or singer’s nodules, are abnormal masses of tissue generally caused by repetitive overuse. These growths are callous-like and often develop in pairs.

Vocal cord polyps are slightly different because they are more vascular and can occur on either one or both vocal cords. Polyps also vary in size and are often larger than nodules.

Do you struggle with hoarseness or other phonation issues? Call our office today or request an evaluation by one of our ENT specialists.

Vocal Cord Nodules

Nodules can be found in both children and adults, but most frequently adult females ages 20-50. 

Professions most at risk for developing vocal cord nodules include teachers, cheerleaders, politicians, actors, preachers, singers, and military drill instructors. 

Vocal Cord Nodule Symptoms

  • Vocal fatigue 
  • Hoarseness 
  • Breathiness
  • Painful speaking
  • Voice breaks
  • Reduce vocal range for singers

Hoarseness or breathiness that lasts for more than two weeks may signal a voice disorder and should be followed up with an appointment with an otolaryngologist.

Vocal Cord Nodule Causes

Nodules are caused by strenuous or abusive voice practices such as repetitive:

  • Yelling
  • Coughing
  • Singing
  • Talking loudly

Vocal Cord Nodule Treatment

Although vocal cord nodules alter a patient’s voice, they are not malignant and cause no overall negative health consequences. Treatment consists of:

  • Vocal rehabilitation -- vocal training, speech therapy, vocal rest, etc.
  • Vocal hygiene -- increased water intake, decreasing caffeine and sometimes anti-reflux medicine 

In some cases, surgery may be required. Removal of vocal cord nodules is a relatively safe and minor surgery. 

Vocal Cord Nodules Video

Vocal Cord Polyps 

Polyps appear as a swelling or bump, a stalk-like growth, or a blister-like lesion. Like nodules, polyps result from trauma caused by repetitive overuse; however, polyps can also arise from a single episode of vocal cord hemorrhage.

Vocal Cord Polyp Symptoms

  • Vocal fatigue
  • Hoarseness
  • Breathiness 

Vocal Cord Polyp Causes 

  • Vocal abuse 
  • Smoking

Vocal Cord Polyp Treatment

In most cases, surgery is required. Removal of vocal cord polyps is a relatively safe and minor surgery. 

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