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What causes hoarseness?

Jennifer L. Long, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
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.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.