Aphonia is the inability to speak or loss of voice through disease of or damage to the larynx or mouth. Aphonia means the patient has no voice at all. Aphonia may take several different forms. You may have a partial loss of your voice and it may sound hoarse. Or, you may have complete loss of your voice and it may sound like a whisper. Loss of voice can come on slowly or quickly depending on the cause.
Aphonia is considered a functional voice disorder. People who have functional aphonia are fine physically. They may have lost their voice because they aren’t using their voice normally. Using your voice normally may look easy but in reality relies on careful coordination between your respiratory system, your larynx, throat, nose and mouth.
Your respiratory system drives airflow that powers your voice. If you’re not breathing properly, you may have trouble using your voice. Your larynx (voice box) houses your vocal cords, which are also called vocal folds. Your larynx has a set of muscles called the phonatory muscles. These muscles move your vocal cords together. When air from your lungs flows past your vocal folds, they begin to vibrate, creating sound waves. (Think how a breeze can make a wind chime ring.)
Those sound waves travel through your throat, nose and mouth. These are called resonating cavities.
Aphonia symptoms may include:
Healthcare providers may want to examine your larynx. Here are examples of tests they may perform:
Note: Evaluate incomplete aphonia as laryngitis, chronic (DC 6516).
Constant inability to communicate by speech Review for entitlement to special monthly compensation under §3.350 of this chapter
Constant inability to speak above a whisper
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