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A vocal polyp is a soft, benign (non-cancerous) growth, similar to a blister. A polyp usually grows alone on one vocal cord and is often caused by long-term cigarette smoking. Other causes of vocal polyps include hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), gastroesophageal reflux, and continuous voice misuse. Voice polyps cause the voice to be hoarse, low, and breathy. Vocal polyps are also called Reinke's edemas or polypoid degeneration.