Poor cord closure happens when there is a very mild weakness of one or both vocal cords. This results in a small gap between the vocal cords, which causes mild breathiness in the voice or voice fatigue. Sometimes patients will complain of throat or neck pain from the effort of compensating for this gap.
The only way to know if your cords are not fully closed is to have an evaluation by a laryngologist. This skilled voice physician can help you to see and understand if you have a closure issue through the use of videostroboscopy and other tools.
Many people suffer from closure problems and have had this problem for most of their lives. Therefore they may not realize their symptoms are abnormal. However, common symptoms include:
- Weak voice (difficulty shouting)
- Voice fatigue at the end of the day
- Easily hoarse voice
- Throat pain
- Mild breathiness
- Increased breathiness when singing high notes
Often performers notice symptoms more than non-performers because they are using their voices more and are trying to achieve different vocal goals. Performers often complain of the above symptoms, despite using good vocal technique and training with good vocal coaches.
Depending on the severity of the problem, voice therapy with a skilled voice therapist may alleviate all symptoms. More commonly, particularly in performers, a vocal injection is used to amplify the voice and make it easier to use.
Though temporary, these injections enable the professional voice user to perform. Often fine-tuning injections are needed at regular intervals to maintain the results.