Your doctor will ask you detailed questions about your voice problems and examine you thoroughly. A topical anesthetic may be applied to numb your tissues before your doctor uses one of the following tools to examine your vocal cords:
- Mirror. Similar to a dental mirror, a long, rigid instrument with an angled mirror inserted into your mouth.
- Flexible laryngoscope. A flexible tube containing a light and camera that's inserted through your nose.
- Rigid laryngoscope. A rigid viewing tube that's inserted through your mouth.
- Videostroboscope. A camera combined with a flashing light to provide a slow-motion view of your vocal cords as they move.
Additional tests are sometimes used:
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- Sound (acoustic) analysis. Using computer analysis, your doctor can measure irregularities in the sound produced by the vocal cords.
- Laryngeal electromyography. Small needles are inserted through the skin to measure the electric currents in your voice box muscles.
- Common problems that can affect your voice. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/common-problems-can-affect-your-voice. Accessed May 17, 2015.
- Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 18, 2015.
- Bruch JM. Hoarseness in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 17, 2015.
- Simberg S, et al. Vocal symptoms and allergy: A pilot study. Journal of Voice. 2009;23:136.
- Voice information. The Voice Foundation. http://voicefoundation.org/health-science/voice-disorders/overview-of-diagnosis-treatment-prevention/. Accessed May 17, 2015.
- Doherty GM, ed. Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed May 17, 2015.
- Vocal cord paralysis. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/vocalparal.aspx. Accessed May 18, 2015.
- Ekbom DC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 26, 2015.