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Your voice is an often-overlooked part of your identity — it’s just a part of who you are, so when unexpected changes in your voice occur, it can be alarming.

One of the most common changes in the voice is called hoarseness. A hoarse voice is usually caused by a condition in the larynx. Though they usually do not last for long periods of time, any hoarseness of the voice that lasts for longer than two weeks could be indicative of a more serious condition.

Hoarseness can take on many different meanings when describing the changes in the voice, some of which include:

  • Rasping
  • Cracking
  • Vocal strain
  • Changes in pitch or volume
  • Breathiness


Causes of Hoarseness

Hoarseness can be caused by several conditions. Here is a list of the most common sources of hoarseness.

  • Sinus infections
  • Common colds
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Strained vocal cords
  • Acid reflux
  • Trauma
  • Many, many more

If your hoarseness has lasted for longer than two weeks, or is accompanied by difficulty breathing or swallowing, you should seek medical attention.

Your doctor will give you a physical examination and look at your throat and mouth with a laryngoscope. He or she may order a throat culture, blood test, x-rays, or a CT scan in order to make a proper diagnosis.

Treatment of Hoarseness

Though hoarseness is generally temporary and will typically go away on its own (if caused by a viral infection), treatment for hoarseness varies depending on its cause.

At-home Solutions for Treating Hoarseness
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Rest your voice
  • Eliminate alcohol and caffeinated drinks from your diet
  • Avoid smoking
  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier
  • Remove spicy foods from your diet

When to See a Doctor for Hoarseness

Are you experiencing hoarseness? Has it lasted for two weeks or more? If so, you may have a more serious condition. It’s important to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor to get a clearer understanding of the source of your hoarseness, so we can create a personalized treatment plan for you.

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