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Voice Problems

It is very common for a child to lose their voice or for it to go a little husky for a few days when they have a cold. However, if the problem persists or it did not seem to be related to infection, further investigation may be needed.


There is a very simple and safe way of examining a child’s voice box (larynx) during consultation by using a specially designed endoscope (telescope). This is passed into the nostril and only requires a little spray of local anaesthetic first. Children do need to be about 4 or 5 years old to be able to cooperate happily but it is sometimes possible to carry out the procedure on younger ones. Please do call my secretary to discuss this further.

Causes of Voice Problems

Vocal cord nodules

These are the most common cause of a persistent change in a child’s voice. They are firm swellings which appear on the vocal cords usually because of talking too much or shouting. Once diagnosed, the vast majority settle with a course of specific speech and language therapy.

Vocal cord polyps/cysts

These swellings on the vocal cords are less common than nodules and also are not serious.  They may need to be taken off which would require a small operation.


This is a very rare condition in which wart-like growths appear on the vocal cords. They can be removed but this requires a short general anaesthetic.

Vocal cord palsy

This is another rare problem when one of the vocal cords does not move properly. There is usually a history of some sort of surgery beforehand which has affected the nerve that supplies the voice box.