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Paralysis is the loss of the ability to move (and sometimes to feel anything) in part or most of the body, typically as a result of illness, poison, or injury. This can occur in your vocal cords and will cause difficulty to swallow and talk. 


Your vocal cords are two flexible bands of muscle tissue that sit at the entrance to the windpipe (trachea). When you speak, the bands come together and vibrate to make sound. The rest of the time, the vocal cords are relaxed in an open position, so you can breathe.



  • A breathy quality to the voice

  • Hoarseness

  • Noisy breathing

  • Loss of vocal pitch

  • Choking or coughing while swallowing food, drink or saliva

  • The need to take frequent breaths while speaking

  • Inability to speak loudly

  • Loss of your gag reflex

  • Ineffective coughing

  • Frequent throat clearing



If you have unexplained, persistent hoarseness for more than two weeks, or if you notice any unexplained voice changes or discomfort, schedule an appointment.

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