Hoarseness, or a change in your normal voice quality, can occur for a number of reasons. Many of us have experienced the temporary laryngitis that can occur after a cold. However, if a voice change persists for more than a few days, it should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist. Other causes of a hoarse voice include acid reflux, benign lesions or lumps of the vocal cord or neurologic problems.
Many people become concerned about laryngeal cancer if their voice changes. That is certainly a concern but is actually less common than the noncancerous causes. The only way to know the cause is to have an otolaryngologist examine your vocal cords during a simple office visit. A doctor who specializes in the voice will have additional equipment and expertise to further diagnose and treat a hoarse voice.