Hot Potato Voice

Synonyms: Hot potato speech, Potato in mouth

It is a term for a defect of resonance in which the speech has muffled quality, fancifully likened to a person speaking with a (very) hot potato in their mouth.

hot potato voice

Mechanism of Hot Potato Voice:

Hot potato voice is the result of an underlying transient velopharyngeal insufficiency combined with muffled oral resonance.

Causes of Hot Potato Voice:

It results from space occupying lesions –

1. Lymphoid masses

2. Quinsy – peritonsillar cellulitis or abscess

3. Epiglottitis

4. Tumors of vallecula between the epiglottis and the base of the tongue

5. Lingual thyroid gland

6. Foreign body

Listen how the Hot Potato Voice really sounds like:


  1. The Doctor’s Dictionary 2nd edition by Joseph C Segan
  2. Gross and Developmental Anatomy By N. Anthony Moore, William A. Roy
  3. Finkelstein Y, Bar-Ziv J, Nachmani A, Berger G, Ophir D. Peritonsillar abscess as a cause of transient velopharyngeal insufficiency. Cleft Palate Craniofac J.1993 Jul;30(4):421-8. PubMed PMID: 8399275.

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