Hoarseness is having difficulty producing sound when trying to speak, or a change in the pitch or quality of the voice. The voice may sound weak, very breathy, scratchy, or husky.
Hoarseness is usually caused by a problem in the vocal cords. Most cases of hoarseness are associated with inflammation of the larynx (laryngitis).
Hoarseness that lingers for weeks or months may be caused by a variety of problems. Some causes are minor, while others are serious.
Other causes include:
Hoarseness may be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic), but is treated the same in most cases.
This kind of hoarseness is very resistant to medical therapy. Rest and time are the only ways to cure hoarseness that is not associated with other symptoms. Crying, shouting, and excessive talking or singing will only make the problem worse. Be patient, the healing process may take several days. Don't talk unless it is absolutely necessary and avoid whispering. Whispering can strain the vocal cords more than speaking does.
Gargling does not help the vocal cords. Avoid decongestants because they dry the vocal cords and prolong irritation. If you smoke, reduce or stop smoking.
Humidifying the air with a vaporizer or drinking fluids can offer some relief.
Treat conditions such as:
The doctor will examine your throat and mouth. You will be asked questions about your symptoms and medical history, including:
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment depends on the cause of the problem.
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