Whether from cheering on your favorite team or singing along to your favorite artist, losing your voice is never a fun experience. However, hoarseness can be a sign of something more than simple overuse. Find out what is causing your hoarseness with your doctor at Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons of Western New England in Northampton, Ware and Springfield, MA.
Common Causes of Hoarseness
Hoarseness is defined as a sudden or abnormal change in voice and is usually caused by the inflammation or irritation of the vocal cords. Common causes of hoarseness include:
- Infection: An upper respiratory infection, the most common cause of seeing a doctor in the United States, can make you lose your voice.
- Laryngitis: The most common cause of hoarseness, laryngitis occurs when the larynx, which houses the vocal cords, becomes inflamed.
- Gastric Reflux: This condition occurs when stomach acid travels up the esophagus and irritates the tissues in the throat.
- Smoking: Smoking irritates the vocal cords, causing you to become hoarse. However, hoarseness in smokers should be examined by a healthcare professional to rule out things like throat cancer.
- Overuse: Screaming, singing loudly, speaking loudly for an extended period of time or speaking loudly over a crowd in a noisy situation can cause hoarseness.
- Allergies: Allergies can cause hoarseness due to coughing and other symptoms.
- Coughing: Coughing puts added pressure onto the vocal cords, causing you to become hoarse. If you are coughing so much you lose your voice, you should consult your physician.
- Nodules: Vocal cord lesions or nodules are similar to a callus which develops on the vocal cord, causing hoarseness.
Hoarseness Treatment in Northampton, Ware and Springfield
Most cases of hoarseness go away on their own within a day or two. Resting the voice is helpful in reducing inflammation and irritation which allows the body’s natural healing abilities to take over. If you are hoarse for more than two weeks, or if you are hoarse alongside pain, coughing up blood, have a lump in your neck or are having problems swallowing, you should see your ear, nose and throat doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of treatment for your hoarseness.
For more information on hoarseness and its causes, please contact your doctor at Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons of Western New England in Northampton, Ware and Springfield, MA. Call to schedule your examination today!