Having a rough edge to your voice might sound attractive, but if you're having problems talking because your voice is so hoarse, it's important to get the right treatment. Board-certified otolaryngologists Ramie A. Tritt, MD, and Gregg R. Sachs, DO, of Atlanta ENT, Sinus & Allergy Associates, P.C. have considerable experience in treating the causes of hoarseness and restoring your natural voice. Call one of their two offices in Atlanta, Georgia, today, or schedule a consultation using the online booking form.
Hoarseness is a term used to describe changes in your voice that are symptoms of some kind of problem in your throat. If your voice is hoarse, it sounds raspy or breathy instead of clear. It might feel and sound strained and may be quieter or lower than normal.
Most causes of hoarseness aren't signs of serious health problems and usually clear up within a few weeks. If your hoarseness continues for more than two weeks, you should visit Atlanta ENT, Sinus & Allergy Associates, P.C., so they can check for problems like cancer of the larynx.
Common causes of hoarseness include:
Viral infections like colds and flu and bacterial throat infections can cause inflammation in your larynx (laryngitis) that can lead to hoarseness.
Repeatedly shouting and screaming or making strange sounds with your voice for long periods can bring on hoarseness. Singing or just talking for too long can also make your voice go hoarse. Polyps and nodules can develop on your vocal cords from overuse.
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid rises up your esophagus and irritates the vocal folds in your larynx.
Allergies to dust, mold, and pet dander can dry out your throat or cause postnasal drip, which could lead to hoarseness.
Other possible causes of hoarseness include smoking, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, neurological disorders, and injury to your larynx.
Your provider at Atlanta ENT, Sinus & Allergy Associates, P.C. begins their diagnosis of your hoarseness by going over your symptoms with you and looking at your medical history.
They then examine your larynx using a mirror or a laryngoscope — a flexible instrument that lights up your throat. The sound of your voice can help with their evaluation, too. For instance, a breathy voice could indicate poor vocal cord function due to a benign tumor or larynx cancer.
If your voice is raspy, it might be due to swelling or thickening in your vocal cords, inflammation from infection, voice abuse, or a chemical irritant. A soft or high and shaky voice suggests problems with airflow.
To investigate the cause of your hoarseness further, your provider at Atlanta ENT, Sinus & Allergy Associates, P.C. might order a biopsy, thyroid function test, or diagnostic imaging scan.
Most often, hoarseness goes away if you rest your voice for a while. Quitting smoking, drinking plenty of fluids, and boosting your immune system through healthier living can all help prevent hoarseness from coming back.
If you have polyps or nodules on the vocal folds in your throat, you might need surgery to remove them.
Find out what's causing your hoarseness by calling Atlanta ENT, Sinus & Allergy Associates, P.C. today, or book an appointment online.