Hoarseness or dysphonia happens when your voice sounds strained, raspy, or breathy. The softness or loudness (volume) when you speak might differ, and so may the lowness or highness (pitch) of your voice. Most of them are not severe and disappear in a short period. 

Generally, the most common cause of hoarseness is an injury or irritation of your vocal cords. This condition often occurs with people who smoke, as well as those who use their voices in their occupations, such as call center operators, sales representatives, lecturers, and singers. Nevertheless, it is a very common condition, which anyone at any age may experience.

Moreover, hoarseness can also be a result of stress and underlying conditions. Hence, if you suffer from persistent hoarseness that does not go away from OTC medications and home remedies, it would be best to seek medical help.


Hoarseness usually gives a harsh and raspy voice quality, though it might also cause an alteration in the volume or pitch of the voice. The time of its onset, along with any related symptoms, will vary on the underlying problems leading to hoarseness.


To diagnose hoarseness, your doctor will perform a physical exam to figure out the cause of it. Your doctor might refer you to an ENT or otolaryngologist, a specialist in ears, nose, and throat, depending on your signs and symptoms.  

Your doctor may speak to you and ask you the following questions:

  • Did your symptoms begin suddenly, or does it come over time?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you drink alcohol?
  • Did you have a respiratory infection before?
  • Do you have other symptoms?

Afterward, your doctor will listen to your voice and will check your neck for any lumps and examine your larynx using a laryngoscope. A laryngoscope is a light tool that will be put behind your throat past your nostrils. 

Moreover, if there is a matter of concern, your doctor might request the following tests:

  • MRI
  • CT Scan
  • Biopsy


The treatment for hoarseness depends on the severity and the condition that is causing this problem. These treatments include:

  • Voice rest
  • Corticosteroids or antibiotics
  • Dietary changes
  • Water therapy
  • Surgery for severe cases

Moreover, the conditions that cause hoarseness are:

  • Sinus infection or cold
  • GERD
  • Laryngitis
  • Neurological disorders
  • Vocal cysts or polyps
  • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Muscle tension dysphonia
  • Vocal fold paralysis

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