Small, noncancerous growths can develop on the vocal cords. They are called vocal cord nodules and are a result of vocal abuse. What is considered as vocal abuse? Oftentimes, it would be megaphoneany behaviors that harm or overwork the vocal cords, such as frequent coughing, dehydration and yelling. An instance of vocal abuse can include a soft swollen spot on the vocal cords. This can impact the sound quality of the individual’s voice. If you like to cheer during football games, noticed how you get that hoarse voice after the entire session? Yes, that’s a form of vocal abuse. If your kid experiences repeated and excessive instances of vocal abuse, that soft swelling can become callous-like growths called nodules.
What Causes Vocal Nodules to Form?
As mentioned, vocal cord nodules can be a result of behaviors that are harmful to the voice. For example:
- Insufficient breathing patterns
- Excessive use of loud voice
- Loud bursts of strained voices and sounds (when imitating harsh sound effects)
- Crying, yelling and loud laughing from emotional outbursts
- Loud forceful throat clearing and sneezing
- Reduced fluid intake and dehydration
How Do You Find Out If Your Child Has Vocal Nodules?
Vocal nodules are known to impact the sound of your child’s voice. Indicators that your child has vocal nodules may include:
- Pain in their throat or neck
- Straining of shoulder and neck muscles when speaking
- Using excessively loud voices
- Voice often sounds strained or effortful
- Pitch breaks when child sings or speaks (having difficulty sustaining notes)
- Voice sounds scratchy, harsh or hoarse
Good Practices for Preventing Vocal Nodules
For starters, you can encourage your child to stay hydrated by drinking up. However, they should avoid anything that’s caffeinated. In addition, it helps greatly to educate them on the appropriate speaking volume – when to use a quiet voice and when to use a loud voice. You can also give your child feedback and praise them for their appropriate speaking volume. Also, make sure that your child learns more constructive ways to express their emotions. Instead of allowing them to continue shouting or screaming at ballgames, you can get them to clap their hands or verbalize how they feel at the exact moment.
Don’t forget to build in some daily quiet time for your child to rest their voice. Do this if they often engage in prolonged periods of singing or talking. If they have the habit of excessively clearing their throat, their throat will often feel sticky or dry. If this happens, get your child to take sips of water at appropriate intervals. As whispering can dry and tire out the vocal cords, it is best to limit whispering. Sometimes you need to be your kid’s role model. They tend to learn by watching others around them. From expressing emotions in a constructive way to using an appropriate speaking volume, go ahead and model the behaviors you want your child to exhibit.
If you think your child has vocal nodules, you should seek medical assistance from a licensed professional that specializes in treating nose and throat disorders without delay. A professional that’s well-versed in speech and language treatment is also recommended. But it goes without saying that it is still important to teach your child to maintain a healthy voice, even if vocal nodules are not manifesting themselves in your kid.