Voice disorders include hoarseness and the loss of one's voice. Hoarseness is characterized by a raspy, croaky, or rough voice (dysphonia), while the loss of voice refers to an inability to make sounds when speaking (aphonia). Mechanical or inflammatory irritation of the larynx and vocal cords is the most common cause of these conditions, although in some cases, the loss of voice may have an emotional component or be associated with the neurological complications of a stroke (aphasia).
According to Chinese medicine, the organ systems most frequently implicated in voice disorders are the lungs, liver, kidneys, and stomach. The larynx and vocal cords are part of the Lung system and are influenced by the same factors that affect the Lungs - wind, heat, dryness, phlegm, yin, and qi deficiency. The liver and kidneys influence the throat through their internal channel pathways, while the stomach influences the throat through its close anatomical relationship and channel pathway. The stomach is prone to heat disorders, and heat tends to rise through the esophagus to the throat.