Throat Disorders

What causes hoarseness?

A Answers (3)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    2 020 03-1 vocal cords
    Screaming or singing loudly can make your voice hoarse. Watch as Dr. Oz talks with Dr. Steven Zeitels in this video about ways to protect your vocal cords.

  • Hoarseness usually goes away on its own and is rarely a sign of a more serious condition. Causes include:

    • Allergies
    • Infections
    • Vocal cord nodules often form misuse of the voice
    • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, which are warty growths in the voice box
    • Vocal cord paralysis
    • Gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux
  • AJennifer Long, MD, PhD, Otolaryngology, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    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.
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