Vocal cords, also known as vocal folds, protect your airway by preventing food, drink and saliva from entering your windpipe and causing you to choke. Vocal cord paralysis results from an interruption of the nerve impulses to your larynx (voice box). This results in paralysis of the vocal cord muscles and affects your ability to speak.
Vocal cord paralysis can be caused by nerve damage during surgery, neurological disorders, viral infections and certain cancers. Evaluation of the larynx is important to ascertain the cause of the dysfunction.