What is Hoarseness?

What are the Causes of Hoarseness?

There are many causes of hoarseness. However, most of them are not serious and result in recovery in a short time. The most common cause is acute laryngitis. Inflammation of the larynx is usually due to the common cold, viral upper respiratory tract infections, or yelling for an excessive amount of time. Prolonged hoarseness is usually due to excessive use of the voice at a high volume or inappropriate use for long periods of time. Such use of the voice can also lead to resembling vocal cord nodules (Singer’s nodule) or vocal cord polyps. Nodules are common in adults who use their voices excessively in professional life or in children who shout a lot during play.

The sound is usually worse in the morning and improves later in the day. These patients complain of a feeling of swelling (lump) in the throat and the presence of sticky mucus and show an extreme desire to clear their throat. Smoking is another cause of hoarseness. Since smoking is the main cause of laryngeal cancer, prolonged hoarseness in smokers requires going to an ENT specialist. Among the rare causes of hoarseness are; allergies, thyroid gland diseases, nervous system related diseases, laryngeal injuries and sometimes normal menstrual period. It is natural to have some hoarseness in the voice with old age.

Who Can Treat Hoarseness?

Hoarseness due to cold or flu can also be evaluated by family physicians, pediatric and internal medicine specialists. If hoarseness lasts longer than two weeks and there is no known cause, they should be examined by an ENT specialist. Sound problems are best evaluated by a professional team that knows the functions of sound. This team includes an ENT specialist, a speech disorders specialist and a singing teacher. There are many different types of voice disorders. Tips are only evaluated by professional teams.

When Should I Go to an ENT Specialist?

  • * If your hoarseness has lasted longer than 2-3 weeks,
  • * If hoarseness is accompanied by one or more of the following reasons,
  • * Pain other than flu or cold,
  • * Bloody cough
  • * Difficulty in swallowing
  • * Feeling of a mass in the throat,
  • * Complete loss of voice or severe change in voice lasting more than a few days.

How is Hoarseness Evaluated?

The ENT specialist will take your full history of hoarseness and general health. Your doctor will examine your vocal cords with a small mirror or different optical devices. Video recording of the examination will help to fully analyze the ailment. These procedures are not uncomfortable and are tolerated by most patients. In some patients, special tests known as acoustic analysis may be recommended to evaluate the voice. These include the irregularities in the sound, the acoustic content of the sound, airflow and other properties. The results obtained are used in diagnosis and treatment.

Voice Hoarseness Prevention and Treatment Recommendations

Hoarseness is a term that refers to abnormal changes in the voice. When the sound is muted, the sound may be heard as a whisper, crackle, forced, or there may be a change in the intensity or tone of the sound. Changes in voice are often due to vocal cord defects. The vocal cords are the parts of the larynx (larynx) that are used to produce sound. During the whisper, the vocal cords are separated from each other. They come together when speaking or singing and vibrate to produce sound as air comes out of the lungs. A faster vibration of the vocal cords creates a higher pitched sound. Falling or irregular vocal cords impair the function of coming together properly and cause changes in the voice.

What Can I Do To Prevent-Treat Hoarseness?

  • * If you smoke, quit.
  • * Avoid factors that dehydrate the body, such as alcohol and caffeine.
  • * Drink plenty of water.
  • * Avoid spices and alcohol.
  • * Avoid using your voice for too long and too loudly.
  • * Get professional voice training.

How Are Voice Disorders Treated?

Treatment of hoarseness is directed towards the cause. Most hoarseness can be treated by resting the voice and reorganizing its use. Your doctor will make some suggestions about using the voice. He or she will suggest a minor operation on the vocal cord polyp or some nodules. It is recommended for all patients to quit smoking and stay away from smoking environments. Fluid intake is helpful.

Speech and voice training is required in some patients. This training is given by speech and sound therapists. Your doctor will direct you when there is such a need. Problems such as nodules can be solved. If the patient’s problem is especially related to singing, the singing teacher can solve the problem by correcting the patient’s technique.

Chronic Pharyngitis

Chronic pharyngitis occurs due to the hypersensitivity of the mucosa in the back of the throat to various physical or chemical stimuli. In chronic pharyngitis, symptoms such as a feeling of sticking to the throat, the need to constantly clean the throat, and a sore throat appear. Treatment is based on the condition that causes chronic pharyngitis.