Why Your Voice is Hoarse
When you have abnormal voice changes, you are likely dealing with “hoarseness”. Hoarseness is characterized by a voice that sounds breathy, raspy, strained, or has a sudden change in pitch or volume. These voice alterations are connected to the vocal cords or vocal folds of the voice box (larynx). When we speak, the vocal cords are brought together as air exits the lungs to create the desired sound. When lumps or swelling form on the cords, vibration is inhibited and voice tone and quality are changed. Read on to learn more about why your voice is hoarse.
Hoarseness is most often due to vocal cord swelling that happens during voice strain, upper respiratory tract viral infection, or a cold. Consider if you are misusing your voice in the following ways: speaking in loud situations, not properly amplifying when public speaking, overuse, or speaking at a pitch that hurts your throat (too high or too low).
We experience prolonged hoarseness when the voice is used too much or too loudly. Bad voice use habits can lead to the formation of polyps, cysts, or nodules. If you suddenly lose your voice, you may be dealing with a vocal cord hemorrhage. This occurs when there is a sudden loss of voice following excessive vocal use. When this happens, a blood vessel on a vocal cord has ruptured and filled the soft tissues with blood. If this happens to you, you need to have an exam by an ear, nose, and throat doctor immediately and desist completely from any voice use until further advised by your doctor.
Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD) is also a common culprit that creates hoarseness. GERD happens when stomach acid goes up the esophagus and causes vocal cord irritation. Patients with GERD hoarseness tend to not experience heartburn. The voice tends to be the worst in the morning then progressively improves a the day goes on.
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Smoking, neurological disorders, and other causes can contribute to hoarseness as well. To find out more about what is causing your voice to be hoarse call Coast, Ear, Nose & Throat today. You can reach our office by calling 732-280-7855. We look forward to helping you!