How to Recognize and Treat The Cause of Your Hoarseness
Hoarseness on its own is not an illness but rather a symptom of an illness, so it is our goal is to determine what could be causing your throat problems so we can treat your condition effectively. Hoarseness can manifest differently in people, ranging from breathy to strained and pitchy tones. These changes to your voice are often due to an illness that affects the vocal folds.
The Causes of Hoarseness
Luckily, hoarseness is not usually caused by a serious infection, and will go away over time. There are several problems that could be to blame for your hoarseness:
Overuse: If you’ve used your voice too much, too loudly or improperly (e.g. shouting or singing during a live concert) then you may find yourself dealing with a hoarse throat.
GERD: Known as gastroesophageal reflux, this condition can cause stomach acid to flow backwards, affecting the vocal folds.
Allergies: There is a variety of different allergens, from pollen and ragweed to dust mites and certain food allergens that can also irritate your throat.
Viral upper respiratory infections, common colds, thyroid problems, smoking, rheumatoid arthritis and direct trauma can also affect your voice and cause hoarseness.
We will go through your medical history and ask questions regarding your symptoms to determine whether this could be the result of an infection. We may use a small flexible tool known as a laryngoscope to examine your voice box and folds. Based on your physical examination, we may recommend getting further testing (e.g. thyroid function; X-rays).
Treatments for Hoarseness
Most of the time, simply resting your voice is enough to soothe an irritated voice box. If smoking is causing your symptoms then we will strongly advise that you also stop smoking. Common colds and viral respiratory infections will also go away on their own without requiring treatment. Staying hydrated, resting and taking over-the-counter medications can help to ease symptoms and lessen your recovery time.