Examination of throat with mirror

This picture depicts examination of voice box with a mirror in the ENT clinic.

Let’s see how voice is produced:

During inspiration (breathing in), the vocal cords move apart and allow air to enter the lungs.

During expiration (breathing out), the vocal cords move close to each other. When we want to make a sound, the vocal cords come together and vibrate to produce the sound.

The oral cavity, tongue, teeth and lips improve the quality of that sound which we perceive as ‘voice’.

Voice changes may occur due to various conditions in the vocal cords. 

  1.  Infections 

  2. Cancers

  3. Paralysis of the vocal cord/cords. 

  4. Nodule formation due to voice abuse and misuse

  5. Smoking

If the voice change persists for more than two weeks, the throat should be examined. Only an ENT surgeon can do a proper vocal cord assessment. With a good light beam directed to the patient’s mouth the doctor holds the patient’s tongue and passes the mirror into the patient’s mouth (which is held behind the tongue). This gives a mirror image of the larynx. If this procedure is causing any difficulty to the patient it can be avoided by anaesthetising the oral cavity using an anaesthetic spray.
Vocal cords also can be examine using endoscopes passed through the nose or mouth.
If detected early, cancers of vocal cords can be completely cured. Hoarseness of more than two weeks, therefore, should not be neglected.