If your child's voice is constantly hoarse and raspy, they may have vocal cord nodules. These small nodules form on the vocal cords when they're repeatedly irritated, and they block the vocal cords from being able to completely close when your child is talking. When the vocal cords can't close completely, air will escape while your child is talking, and that results in a raspy voice. While vocal cord nodules aren't dangerous, they need to be treated so that your child is able to speak normally. Treating them will require you to eliminate the irritation that led to the nodules forming in the first place. To learn more about what causes vocal cord nodules in children and how you can treat them, read on.

What Causes Vocal Cord Nodules in Children?

When your child's vocal cords are irritated, they'll start to form scar tissue that develops into vocal cord nodules. There are numerous ways that vocal cords can become irritated. Screaming and yelling during a temper tantrum, for example, will place excess stress on your child's vocal cords. Mimicking animal noises or car engine noises will also irritate a child's vocal cords because these noises cause the vocal cords to vibrate quickly. Vocal cord nodules are more likely to form when the vocal cords are exposed to other irritants like pollution or cigarette smoke. The constant irritation never gives the vocal cords a chance to heal when they're stressed, and eventually, nodules may form on them.

How Do You Treat Vocal Cord Nodules?

The main approach to treating vocal cord nodules in children is to eliminate the stressors that led to the nodules forming. You'll need to periodically remind your child that they shouldn't raise their voice because they need to rest their vocal cords and let the nodules heal. If your child is a singer, they may have to take a break from singing until the nodules go away. In addition, you should also try to eliminate other irritants from your child's environment; avoid smoking around them to limit second-hand smoke exposure, and don't use chemical cleaning sprays indoors that can cause irritation.

Allowing your child's vocal cords to relax and heal will often result in the nodules disappearing, which stops your child's voice from being hoarse and raspy. If they don't go away on their own or if your child needs to use their voice, then you can consider laser surgery as an option. During this procedure, an ear, nose, and throat specialist will use a camera attached to a laser to burn away the vocal cord nodules that are affecting your child's voice. It's a quick procedure that can immediately destroy the nodules. If you decide on surgery, however, it's important to also take steps to make sure your child doesn't overwork their vocal cords since the nodules can come back if behaviors like screaming and shouting continue.

If you think that your child may have vocal cord nodules due to their constant raspy voice, schedule an appointment with a speech pathology clinic in your area. The vocal cord nodules can be seen easily with a laryngoscope, which allows you to see if your child's hoarseness is being caused by vocal cord nodules. A speech pathologist can help you and your child come up with a plan that allows them to rest their voice and allow their vocal cords to heal, restoring their voice and helping to stop any more nodules from forming in the future.

For more information, contact an office that offers speech pathology treatment, such as Eastern Carolina ENT Head & Neck Surgery.