Stridor: Noisy breathing
Larynx: Highly specialized structure atop the windpipe responsible for sound production, air passage during breathing and protecting the airway during swallowing
Voice Disorders Do Occur in Children
There are a variety of causes of hoarseness in children, the most common of which are not malignant or life threatening.
There are some rare causes of hoarseness, however, that need immediate attention.
Voice Box Disorders in Newborns Are Quite Different From Those in Older Children and Adults
There are typical differences between hoarseness in newborns and children.
Hoarseness or abnormal cry in newborns is usually caused by a congenital (present at birth) or neurologic (brain- or nerve-based) problem.
Hoarseness in children is usually caused by a problem that is occurs after birth. These causes include:
- Vocal nodules
- Gastropharyngeal reflux
Voice Box Disorder in Children Presents as Noisy Breathing (Stridor)
Stridor (noisy breathing) in children is related to voice disorders because the cause(s) may lie within the voice box (laryngeal causes for noisy breathing).
- Stridor can also be caused by problems outside of the voice box.
- Stridor is a sign of difficulty passing air.
- Any breathing difficulty needs immediate medical attention.
Pattern of Stridor Important to Determining Cause
Stridor can occur only while breathing in (inhalation stridor), only while breathing out (exhalation stridor), or during both parts of the breathing cycle.
Determining which part of the breathing cycle (inhalation or exhalation) is noisiest can help determine the cause of the stridor.
Voice Care Team for Children
An otolaryngologist who is familiar with pediatric voice disorders, often in conjunction with a speech language pathologist, should evaluate the child with hoarseness.
Patient education material presented here does not substitute for medical consultation or examination, nor is this material intended to provide advice on the medical treatment appropriate to any specific circumstances.
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