Scientists at the University (GWU) Biofluid Dynamics Laboratory, Washington, DC have identified that asymmetrical air-flow is the cause of voice disorders, a finding that will revolutionize the treatment of vocal cord paralysis or other speech related problems.

According to one of the researchers, Michael Plesniak, engineering professor at the George Washington University (GWU) Biofluid Dynamics Laboratory In Washington, “Potential application of this finding includes assisting otolaryngologists to optimize surgical procedures to correct vocal fold paralysis with an implant that changes the position of the damaged vocal fold."

Vibration of the vocal cords controls the ability to speak or produce voice. Recent study by the researchers from GWU identified asymmetrical air flow as the cause for speech impairment. “In the past, many investigators have assumed air flow is symmetrical over the vocal folds," explains Byron Erath, post-doctoral researcher at George Washington University. "We’ve discovered that this is not always the case."

The GWU team has built a huge model of human vocal cords to study the impact of symmetrical and asymmetrical airflow on the vocal cords. The study presented at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) meeting in Long Beach, CA says that most of the time vocal cords adjust to the asymmetrical airflow. But, when the vocal cord gets paralyzed due to some disease, the asymmetrical air flow vibrates the cords in a different way causing speech impairment. To counter this doctors have to introduce an instrument that work in the same way as the vocal cords so that the vibrations are controlled.

As per Plesniak, more than 30 percent of the people and 60 percent of the teachers are affected with some kind of voice disorders. The findings of Plesniak and his team will help the doctors to come up with a better treatment device for people with vocal cord malfunctions or speech related problems.