An injury that is seldom heard of is called vocal cord paralysis, and can actually takes the victim’s voice away. In a car accident, if an object comes into contact with a person’s head, chest, or neck, it can cause damage to the vocal cords, which creates breathing and speaking problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, vocal cord paralysis is described as an injury to the nerve impulses in the larynx, which can cause temporary or permanent speaking, breathing, eating, and drinking problems. While one of the main functions of the vocal cords is to create sound, another vital job is to keep food and drink from going into the airway while you are consuming food. The recovery process of vocal cord paralysis takes a long time, and surgery may even be required. Depending on the patient’s occupation, they may not be able to perform their regular duties for months to years. If you have been injured in a car accident and suffered vocal cord paralysis as a result, contact an experienced Georgia car accident attorney today.
How the Vocal Cords Work
Your vocal cords are comprised of two flexible muscles at the entrance to the trachea. To create noise, they vibrate when air is passed through them. While you aren’t speaking, they rest in a relaxed position, which closes off the airway, allowing breathing to occur. Luckily, most of the time only one vocal cord is damaged in an accident. However, if the injury was very severe, both can become paralyzed, which is when serious breathing, speaking, and swallowing problems begin. A tracheotomy may be necessary for the patient to breath if both vocal cords were paralyzed.
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Do you Have Vocal Cord Paralysis From a Georgia Car Accident?
If you or a loved one suffered a hard blow or force to the upper chest, neck, or head, in a car accident, and you are suffering from some of the symptoms below, you may have damaged one or both of your vocal cords. Seek medical attention and consultation with an experienced vocal cord paralysis attorney at once.
- Loud or difficult breathing;
- Inefficient cough;
- Hoarseness or raspy voice;
- Breathy voice;
- Difficulty speaking;
- Quiet voice;
- Need to clear throat;
- Lack of gag reflex;
- Difficulty swallowing without beginning to choke or cough;
- Out of breath when speaking at a regular volume; and
- Loss of vocal pitch
Treatment Options for Vocal Cord Paralysis
Upon an exam with an ear, nose and throat doctor (and otolaryngologist), you will likely be told to wait at least one year before surgery. This is due to the fact that much of the time, the vocal cord or vocal cords will heal on their own within a year. However, it can actually take longer than a year for full, normal function to return if the injury was severe, accord to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. During that year, the patient will undergo voice therapy to strengthen the injured vocal folds, which improves speaking and breathing ability. Patients may also be encouraged to learn how to speak differently, such as opening the mouth wider. In the even that time and speech therapy don’t work, surgery is an option. Surgery consists of using sutures or an implant to change the positioning of the laryngeal cartilage, which places the vocal cords closer together.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident and suffered damage to the vocal cords, contact an experienced Georgia car accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Roger Ghai, P.C. Call us at 770-792-1000 to discuss your legal options.