Laryngeal Papilloma

Why am I writing about this?

I’ve recently met a teenager / young adult who is struggling to speak. I noticed the hoarse, husky sound and was quite concerned when told it had been like it since the age of five.

Upon further discussion (difficult when the voice was in such bad shape) I gleaned that it had only recently been diagnosed and surgery was on the cards, which sadly, as I understand it, is the only current remedy.

Why was it not picked up earlier?  Anyone’s guess at this stage, but people get used to things don’t they and they may have got used to the sound . It is possible that the child, now young adult, has already been bounced around a number of health professionals before arriving at this progressive stage.

What is Laryngeal Papilloma?

It is a rare disorder and statistics state that the chance of getting this rare infection are 5:1,000,000 Papillomatosis is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) of the herpes family and produces wart-like growths on the epithelium (the free edge of the vibratory area) of the vocal fold.

Anyone is susceptible to the HPV airborne although most prone are children and infants under the age of six.

However, even after surgery it is possible that the condition will recur.


Audibly: a person my sound breathy at first
resulting inhoarseness and as the wart-like growths are heavy and
weigh down the vocal folds, air is allowed to escape. More effort is needed to phonate and the laryngeal instrument is pushed beyond its limits.

Visibly: wart-like growths may look like cauliflower heads or fish eggs and will be seen during an examination by a laryngologist, a member of the otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) department, who deals with voice disorders.

Variants: the size of the wart-like growths could potentially obstruct airways making it difficult for the individual to breathe.  Most commonly affected are children as their airways are much smaller. Some people may not have physical wart-like growths even though they have this human papillomavirus.

About Amanda

I became a Voice Practitioner and Complementary Therapist to be able to help with all-round support, not just addressing vocal issues, but also ensuring that mind and body are equally healthy to be able to support the voice. For further details of ‘my journey’ please read more here, or reach out on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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