Screening for vocal cord paralysis should be performed as early as possible after symptoms appear or following an injury to the throat. An otolaryngologist, a physician specializing in disorders of the ear, nose and throat, establishes a medical history of the condition listing the type and length of symptoms, and listens for the hoarseness or breathy speech associated with vocal cord paralysis. An endoscope inserted into the throat allows the doctor to directly view the vocal folds and see if they move abnormally. A laryngeal electromyography may also be used to measure the electrical impulses in the larynx, helping determine the areas of paralysis.
Other tests for vocal cord paralysis may include:
- Bronchoscopy, using a device to view the airways
- CT scan (computed tomography) to develop detailed images of the vocal cords
- MRI of the brain, neck and chest
- X-ray of the throat