Hoarseness (Dysphonia)


Phonation is the medical term for the production of the voice by the larynx (voicebox). Dysphonia is the medical term for disordered voicing or an abnormal voice. Most people describe their voice change using terms such as hoarseness, huskiness or raspiness.

Dysphonia is important because of the significant impact it has on a person’s quality of life, their ability to interact with others, their ability to work, and because it may be the first sign of a serious underlying medical condition, such as a cancer of the throat, or even a chest problem.

Dysphonia is a common symptom in the general population and its prevalence does vary according to the vocal demands of each person. People who use their voice a great deal more than average for their occupation -such as teachers, singers, musicians, actors, the clergy, lawyers, doctors, salespeople and customer service representatives - are at increased risk of developing a voice disorder. Teachers are the occupational group most often diagnosed with a voice disorder. The prevalence of voice disorders in the general population is 6% in non-teachers, but 11% in teachers.  The prevalence of a voice disorder occurring at any time in a person’s lifetime is approximately 30% for non-teachers and 60% for teachers.

Any voice change that lasts for more than 3 weeks should be investigated with an examination of the larynx (voice box).

Dr David Vokes is a Voice Specialist, expert in the diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders using the most current diagnostic technology such as videostroboscopy.

Videostroboscopy (or stroboscopy) is a specialised examination of the vocal folds using an endoscope placed through the nose or mouth to examine the larynx (voice box) with a strobe light. This special light source allows assessment of the vibration of the vocal folds. The video examination is recorded for detailed review and for patient education. The video examinations are stored for future reference to follow a patient's progress.

David uses high definition Olympus videoendoscopes with a stroboscope in his consultation rooms in Remuera to assess the function of the vocal folds in detail, and has extensive experience in the interpretation of this examination.

For further information about common voice disorders, click here.