Finding medical terminology confusing? Learn the definitions of commonly used terms.


Usually unilateral (one vocal cord) mass that grows within a vocal cord. Fluid-filled, usually due to voice misuse or overuse.

False Vocal Fold

A fold of tissue located above the true vocal folds. Usually, these structures do not play a role in speaking. However, in cases of true vocal fold injury or incorrect technique, false vocal folds often work to compensate.

Hemorrhage (vocal cord bruise, hematoma)

A collection of blood that occurs within the vocal fold. This is an acute problem after stressful voice use and usually results in severe hoarseness. Click here to see a vocal hemorrhage.


A large inflammatory mass that grows in the larynx, usually in the back. This most often is due to voice trauma and uncontrolled acid reflux. Click here to see a vocal granuloma.


Study of the professional voice. Requires extra training after completing Ear, Nose and Throat training. This enables more sophisticated diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders. An ENT is not a laryngologist.


Anything used to see the larynx (voice box). This can be a flexible scope in your nose or a rigid scope in your mouth.

Nodules (nodes)

Bilateral (both vocal cords) callouses that form on the vocal folds due to voice misuse or overuse. Usually these are reversible with corrections in vocal technique. Click here to see a vocal nodule.


Usually unilateral (one vocal cord) mass that grows off the surface of the vocal cord. Can be hemorrhagic (filled with blood) or not. Usually due to voice misuse or overuse. Click here to see a vocal polyp.

Stroboscopy (videostroboscopy)

An advanced way to view the vocal cords. This usually involves a scope that goes through your mouth. Strobe light is then utilized to get a slow motion view of your vocal folds. This allows you to see vibration so that you can properly identify and define vocal problems. Click here to see a stroboscopy.

True Vocal fold (vocal cord, true vocal fold)

A multi-layered fold of tissue that vibrates to produce sound. Laryngologists will usually use the term fold, as it more accurately describes the anatomy.

Vocal cord

See true vocal fold.

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