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Voice evaluation may be simple - as in the case of a sports fan who becomes hoarse at a game due to a polyp on the vocal fold - or it may be extremely difficult. Voice problems can be very subtle, and the finding which is initially apparent may not be the finding which is causing the problem.
Identifying the correct problem is a process. It involves an appropriately-trained specialist carefully reviewing a history of the problem - as well as listening to the voice itself - and then carrying out a meticulous examination of the source of sound: the vocal folds themselves.
Sound results from the forceful exhalation of air between two shelves of pliable tissue called vocal folds, or cords. This system is capable of fine modulation of pitch and loudness.
General practitioners, otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) and laryngologists all evaluate and treat voice problems with varying degrees of sophistication and expertise.
The first steps in evaluating a voice disorder are investigation of the problem's history, and a physical examination. How do you describe a voice change to the doctor?
There are three principal ways of visualizing the vocal folds. Each has its role. Stroboscopy is a specialized way of seeing vocal fold vibration in the office.