What is Incomplete Vocal Folds Closure?

Your vocal folds contact and part of each other hundreds of times per second. Their contact is the main cause of the voice you make.

Once the vocal cords do not close tightly or symmetrically, they will not be airtight. In such a case, you may suffer some of the following vocal difficulties:

  • Hoarseness;
  • Airy voice;
  • Loss of voice;
  • Brittle voice;
  • Low vocal intensity
  • Unstable voice;
  • Physical pain when using your vocal organs;
  • A sense of greater vocal difficulty than usual.
  • Mental symptoms, such as frustration, mental fatigue, and unwillingness to speak.

 

The usual symptoms of incomplete vocal folds closure are unusual vocal difficulties and unusual effort required to make a sound. Bear in mind that these symptoms may vary from one individual to another

Most Common Causes of Incomplete vocal folds closure:

  1. Most commonly, it is caused by common cold, influenza, or inflammation of the cords. These may result in partial or complete loss of voice. Sometimes, the cold triggers and inflammation which swells the cords, which prevents their proper closure.

Vocal cords’ overuse, due to long, intense vocal effort, loud shouting or an intense cough. These may result in an injury in the form of redness and swelling. This, in turn, may prevent a complete vocal folds closure.

  1. General fatigue, low muscle tonus (muscle weakness). These may be caused by insufficient sleep, old age, or various medical issues.
  2. Vocal cords Lesions, such as warts, polyps, oedema, cysts, etc.
  3. Partial or complete cords’ paralysis, due to various reasons. One reason may be a damage to vocal cords’ nerves during a surgery or an intubation in the nose and windpipe.
  4. Nervous system disease and issues.
  5. Medications side-effects
  6. Phlegm.
  7. Acidity reducing the vocal cords movement

And there are other, unknown causes.

 Incomplete vocal folds closure treatment

There are two types of treatment, depending on the cause.

If the cause is the weakness of the vocal cords, with no lesions or inflammation, the treatment is both vocal and general exercising. In addition, carefully follow vocal hygiene rules, namely have a sufficient vocal rest after a vocal effort,  a balanced and proper diet, and support your vocal system with medical herbs until it heals completely.    

Note: do not carry out these exercises if you are diagnosed with vocal cords lesions or inflammations.

The following exercises are meant to increase your vocal cords and respiratory system muscle mass.

  • Staccato pronunciation: stress and “flip” the sounds, (for example, the “ai” sound) making them clearly distinct from each other.  You should feel your abdomen flip during this exercise.   Perform this exercises in two ways:
    1. Make the “ai” should while letting your abdomen out, to support your abdomen muscles.

Repeat the exercise with smoothness and momentum. The flipping makes the air more compressed than usual, like in a “vocal attack”, helping your vocal cords contact more tightly.

  • Vocal support muscles strengthening, “pushing” exercises: 
  • Static exercises, for better vocal cords closure:

In these exercises, you should press your vocal cords forcefully, for a couple of seconds.  For example:

  • A neck muscle strengthening exercise, while speaking or singing: press your hands against each other, with your arms at your chest level and stretched sideways. Maintain this position for several minutes, relax your arms, rest for a few seconds, and then resume the position. Repeat it 3 times in a row, 3 times a day. Make sure to have a few seconds’ rest between exercises.
    1. Facial muscle exercises, such as chewing exercises; tongue release; lip-rolling; mouth stretching (opening and closing your mouth);
    2. Breathing exercises, to strengthen abdominal, diaphragm, and intercostal muscle exercises, to improve vocal cords closure and support.

Finally, the perfect treatment of incomplete vocal cords closure, for whatever reason, is exercising with TVT device.  It can also serve to prevent vocal issues by training your vocal system to work correctly.

If you have vocal cords lesions or inflammation, we recommend performing on the basic TVT exercises program. In this case, pressure your vocal cords as gently as possible.in addition, disinfect the vocal strain’s area with herbal medicines, oils, and traditional medicines such as the classic spray.

If you suffer from no lesions or inflammation, we recommend performing the advanced exercises, to strengthen your vocal muscles with the TVT kit.     

During the exercise, the water in the device offers vocal resistance, thus strengthening and massaging your vocal cords and helps them regain complete closure. The water’s resistance also counterbalances the pressure on your vocal cords, thus preventing any damage due to excessive pressure.

This exercising is also recommended if the incomplete closure results from vocal cords paralysis, as well as a preventive measure, to relax and strengthen your vocal muscles.      

You should, of course, consult your ENT doctor and speech therapist, to learn about the vocal technique and exercises suitable for your condition. But first, give the TVT-based treatment a chance.

 Good luck,

Talya

A TMRG specialist