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 and is defined as an inflammation of your larynx. This inflammation can be caused by voice strain, common colds or other upper respiratory tract infections. Chronic hoarseness can also be caused by problems with the voice box, smoking and reflux. Other causes of hoarseness include:
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:
To find a solution and offer you options, one of our ear, nose and 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 dependent. Generally, hoarseness can be addressed by simple voice rest or voice use modifications. The doctor may recommend that you use modification behaviors or may 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 ear, nose and throat specialists can help you find a solution to your symptoms.
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