The Voice

The human voice is an important personality trait and means of expression. Comparable to an instrument, an infinite number of tones and sounds can be elicited from it. It is not a human organ, but a sound that is transformed into tones through breathing (especially exhalation) and the interaction of muscles and resonance chambers that is activated in the process. Air is inhaled and pressed out through the larynx. In the process, it passes through the (individually shaped) vocal folds, which are pressed apart and pressed together again in rapid interplay, producing a sound. Only when the anatomically individually shaped resonance spaces (oral, pharyngeal and nasal cavities) are used as "amplifiers" do we hear a sound that gives us our unmistakable voice when we speak, sing, cheer or cry. This unmistakable impression is complemented by the timbre, which is determined by the position of the teeth, the size of the tongue and the shape of the lips.

There are many different disorders of the human voice, which can be caused by illness or occupation. People with professions that require speaking or singing, such as actors, singers, teachers, politicians, pastors or spokespersons in the media, are particularly at risk. Snoring can also lead to voice disorders.

Hoarseness is a relatively common disorder of the human voice that is noticeable by a rough, impure, busy or toneless voice (aphonia).


Abnormal sensations in the throat, pain, a feeling of lumpiness, compulsive clearing of the throat, feeling of mucus.

Possible causes:

  1. organic causes such as nodules, cysts, polyps, inflammations, tumours
  2. functional causes such as vocal overload, incorrect speaking or singing technique
  3. psychological causes such as cramping, tension, stress, mood influences.

Hoarseness that lasts longer than 3 weeks should be examined by an ENT specialist. During the examination, the vocal cords in the larynx are viewed and assessed using special equipment such as the endoscope.


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