Finding Your Voice Again When Hoarseness Strikes

Like many things that you don’t miss until they’re gone, losing your voice can make life difficult. It happens to children and adults, and there’s nothing fun about the scratchy throat discomfort that often accompanies hoarseness. So, what can you do to get your normal voice back as quickly as possible?

The board-certified experts who lead our team here at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists, in Gaylord and Petoskey, Michigan, understand how vital your voice is for effective communication. They have significant experience in diagnosing and treating the conditions that can lead to hoarseness. They can also help you develop a strategy for preventing future episodes.

What causes hoarseness?

Your hoarse voice is a symptom of an underlying issue that typically indicates something is irritating your vocal cords, which are the sound-producing components of the larynx (voice box). The irritation leads to swelling and inflammation of the tissue (laryngitis). This causes the changes in voice tone and volume that characterize hoarseness.   

Common causes of hoarseness include:

Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), thyroid disorders, and certain neurological conditions can also cause hoarseness. Less often, a type of cancer may be responsible.

How do you know what’s causing the hoarseness?

To determine what’s causing your hoarseness, your Petoskey Ear, Nose & Throat specialist discusses your symptoms and medical history in detail and examines your larynx and surrounding tissues for obvious irritation and other signs of damage.

Your provider may also evaluate the type of hoarseness you’re experiencing, or your voice quality, to help narrow the diagnosis. A raspy or coarse voice, for instance, can signal thickening of the vocal folds due to swelling and inflammation from viral or bacterial infections, voice abuse, or exposure to irritants such as smoke.

Depending on what’s revealed during the evaluation, your provider might order further studies, such as X-rays or lab tests, to further define the cause of your symptoms.

What’s the best treatment and how do you prevent hoarseness?

The treatment goals for hoarseness include soothing the throat irritation as well as addressing the underlying condition or behavior that’s leading to your symptoms.

To soothe irritation and relieve inflammation, your specialist may recommend:

Treating the underlying condition also helps prevent future bouts of hoarseness. Your treatment or preventive plan may include:

If you or your child are having problems with persistent hoarseness or frequently lose your voice, schedule an evaluation at Petoskey Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today. Call the office or request an appointment online. We’re here to help.

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