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 exam. 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, inserted through your nose.
- Rigid laryngoscope. A rigid viewing tube, 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:
- Acoustic (sound) 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.