Hoarseness is a type of voice being characteristic for its deep, harsh and abnormal nature. This kind of voice is not considered normal and is usually connected to certain health conditions which might be causing it.
Reasons behind Hoarseness
Hoarseness stems from an irritation or an injury affecting the vocal folds. The vocal folds, or cords, are located in the larynx, being placed in a “V” shape, vibrating while we speak, giving birth to the sounds we produce with our voice.
Hoarseness may be triggered once the vocal cords get inflamed or if a viral infection affects the respiratory tract. Furthermore, overstraining of the vocal cords through yelling, screaming or singing loudly, may result in hoarseness or temporary voice loss.
Alternatively, this condition is known to be related to the presence of benign nodules or polyps, GERD, allergies, active or passive smoking, thyroid gland problems, injury to the vocal cord area, Parkinson's disease, stroke and cancer affecting the larynx.
Symptoms and Treatment
Apart from voice deformation and distortion affecting the sufferer, pain may be felt in the throat, getting worse once a person coughs or tries to talk, let alone yell or sing. Once an affected person seeks medical assistance, the doctor performs several tests in order to diagnose the issue.
The doctor may ask certain questions about your medical history, lifestyle and the problems you are facing. In some cases, he/she may need to insert a long, flexible tube called a fiberoptic scope into your throat and examine the vocal cords directly.
Once the problem has been diagnosed, the treatment may vary, depending on the underlying cause of hoarseness. Infections are usually treated by resting or taking cough-suppressing medications and using air humidifiers. Smoking cessation may sometimes be a must. Moreover, resting is necessary for recovery, especially in cases of singers or people who have to talk loudly for a long time. Finally, nodules, GERD, polyps and other underlying problems are treated separately, removing hoarseness once they are gone. This may involve surgery or usage of certain medications which keep stomach acids and allergies away from the larynx.
Ultimately, bearing in mind that prevention is the best possible cure, you are advised to keep your vocal cords safe from overstraining, quit smoking and treat any conditions which may trigger hoarseness on time. Avoid excessive caffeine or spicy food consumption since these might trigger GERD which subsequently leads to damage to the vocal cords.