Hoarseness is a common symptom that occurs when there are problems affecting your vocal cords or folds of your voice box, also known as the larynx. While it can often be caused by colds, allergies, or reflux, chronic hoarseness can indicate a more serious health problem. It is characterized by a change in voice quality, often resulting in a raspy or strained voice.

How Does Your Voice Box (Larynx) Work?

Your larynx produces sound like this: first, air is pushed out of the vocal cords, and then, passing air causes these cords to vibrate, which produces sound and speech, according to the Mayo Clinic. An irritated throat or vocal cords interfere with this process.

What Causes Hoarseness?

It is important to remember that hoarseness itself is not a disease but a symptom of a disease. Effectively treating symptoms won’t resolve the underlying cause.

There are several possible causes of hoarseness, the most common of which is a cold or upper respiratory infection. Other causes include heartburn, laryngitis, voice overuse, inflammation from allergies, side effects of medication, vocal cord spasms, smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, and intubation, which is the process of passing a tube through the mouth to assist breathing.

Hoarseness is more common in those who use their voice in their everyday careers, such as call-centre operators, singers, coaches, and teachers.

While many cases of hoarseness are mild, it can be associated with serious diseases such as head and neck cancer, Parkinson’s disease, cancer of the larynx.

How Long Should Hoarseness Last?

If your hoarseness is related to an allergy, cold, or upper respiratory infection, it should go away within seven to 10 days. However, if it does not get better within two weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your ENT, as this could be a sign of a more serious problem. Other indicators of a more serious disorder are feeling a lump in your neck, coughing up blood, pain when swallowing, difficulty breathing, and severe voice changes.

Effective Home Remedies for Hoarseness – Sometimes, treating hoarseness is simple:

Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water and other fluids can help keep your vocal cords lubricated and healthy. This can alleviate symptoms of hoarseness caused by dehydration.

Honey: Honey is a natural throat soother that can help ease inflammation in the throat. Mix one tablespoon of honey with warm water or tea and drink it slowly.

Steam: Inhaling steam can help to moisten and soothe the throat. You can do this by taking a hot shower or inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water.

Ginger tea: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the throat. Boil a few slices of ginger in water and add honey and lemon for taste.


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