Can Vocal Nodules Go Away on their Own?
In many cases, vocal nodules will shrink and go away naturally – assuming you follow your doctor’s orders and rest your voice for the recommended amount of time. This means no yelling, singing, talking (even whispering) so your vocal nodules have time to shrink and heal naturally. In other words, keep quiet! And be prepared to do so for several weeks (4-6 weeks in some cases).
Your doctor may also stress good vocal hygiene: stay properly hydrated, avoid shouting and relax your neck muscles. If you are unable or unwilling to take these measures, your vocal nodules may need to be surgically removed through laser therapy or excision.
What are Vocal Nodules?
You can think of vocal nodules like hard, rough callouses on your vocal chords, the tissue that is located in the middle of your voice box. These vocal chords vibrate open as air moves through them when you talk, sing, yell, etc. If you have a profession that requires you to talk or sing loudly – or if you overuse your voice in everyday life – your vocal chords can become chafed from overuse.
Typically noncancerous, vocal nodules form on the chafed areas of vocal chords, preventing your vocal chords from vibrating properly so you’ll sound hoarse or have a scratchy feeling in your throat. Your voice may also be lower and crack often. Overall, you’ll sound different than you normally do. This condition can also be painful or feel like there is something stuck in your throat.
Who Gets Vocal Nodules?
Anyone can get vocal nodules (even children), but some people are at higher risk:
- Coaches / avid sports fans / cheerleaders
- Exercise instructors
- Radio personalities
- Regular patrons of loud bars / nightclubs
- Alcohol / caffeine drinkers
- Those with airborne allergies
- Those with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
If They Can Go Away, Can They Come Back?
Yes. Vocal nodules can return if you don’t make changes to how you speak, sing, live, etc. At Biltmore ENT, Facial Plastics & Allergy, our team of vocal specialists in Phoenix, AZ, can determine if you have vocal nodules and provide recommendations on ways to treat them and prevent them from occurring in the future. From vocal hygiene suggestions to breathing exercises to lifestyle changes, we’ll give you the tools to protect your vocal chords.