Hoarseness, an abnormal change in your voice, can be the result of a disorder in the vocal cords (sound producing parts) of the larynx (voice box). Your voice may sound strained and raspy when you are hoarse. There may also be changes in pitch and volume of your voice.
Causes and Concerns
When you breathe, the vocal cords normally remain separated. By comparison, when you speak or sing, the cords come closer together. When air escapes from the lungs, the vocal cords vibrate and produce sounds. Lumps or swelling of the cords hampers these vibrations changing your voice’s volume, pitch and/or quality. Acute laryngitis is the most prevalent cause of hoarseness, resulting in swelling of the vocal cords from voice strain, common colds or upper respiratory tract infections. Other causes of hoarseness include:
Symptoms and Signs
There are many other symptoms and signs that accompany hoarseness. Some of these are indicators of a serious underlying health problem. You should see a throat specialist if you have any of the following:
Solutions and Options
To find a solution and offer you options, one of our throat specialists will take a complete history and do a physical examination. Afterwards, an evaluation of your voice is done. An examination of the vocal cords by laryngoscopy will likely be advised. This procedure should be performed immediately if your doctor is especially concerned that there is a serious underlying cause for your hoarseness.
Treatment for hoarseness is cause dependant. Generally, hoarseness can be addressed by simple voice rest or voice use modifications. The doctor may recommend that you use modification behaviors, or he could refer you to other specialists if necessary.
Regardless of the cause of your hoarseness, not smoking and staying away from secondhand smoke is always in your best interest. If you or someone you love has hoarseness or any of the symptoms associated with this condition, contact our office for an appointment. Our caring throat specialists can help you find a solution to your symptoms.