Vocal Cord nodules are benign (noncancerous) growths on both vocal cords that are caused by vocal abuse. They are also known as “singers’ nodules”.
Vocal cord abuse.ent

Vocal cord abuse

Over time, repeated abuse of the vocal cords results in soft, swollen spots on each vocal cord. These spots develop into harder, callous-like growths called nodules. The nodules will become larger and stiffer the longer the vocal abuse continues.

A change in voice quality and persistent hoarseness are often the first warning signs of a vocal cord lesion

Other symptoms can include:

  • Vocal fatigue
  • Unreliable voice
  • Delayed voice initiation
  • Low, gravelly voice
  • Low pitch
  • Voice breaks in first passages of sentences
  • Airy or breathy voice
  • Inability to sing in high, soft voice
  • Increased effort to speak or sing
  • Hoarse and rough voice quality
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Extra force needed for voice

Treatment for Vocal cord Nodules

The most common treatment options for benign vocal cord lesions include: 
  • voice rest, 
  • voice therapy,
  • singing voice therapy, and 
  • phonomicrosurgery, a type of surgery involving the use of microsurgical techniques and instruments to treat abnormalities on the vocal cord.

Treatment options can vary according to the degree of voice limitation and the exact voice demands of the patient. For example, if a professional singer develops benign vocal cord lesions and undergoes voice therapy, which improves speaking but not singing voice, then surgery might be considered to restore singing voice.

Successful and appropriate treatment is highly individual and includes consideration of the patient’s vocal needs and the clinical judgment of the otolaryngologist.
  • Birchall MA, Carding P. Vocal nodules management. Clin Otolaryngol. 2019 Jul;44(4):497-501. 
  • Naunheim MR, Carroll TL. Benign vocal fold lesions: update on nomenclature, cause, diagnosis, and treatment. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 Dec;25(6):453-458.
  • Tang SS, Thibeault SL. Timing of Voice Therapy: A Primary Investigation of Voice Outcomes for Surgical Benign Vocal Fold Lesion Patients. J Voice. 2017 Jan;31(1):129.e1-129.e7.