What is Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice?
Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice is the name given to an abnormal change of voice of an individual or child which is quite common and is often associated with a scratchy throat. If an individual has Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice then he or she may have a raspy quality to the voice. The voice may also appear weak. This condition usually arises due to some sort of abnormality with the vocal cords or the larynx which is mostly inflammation of the larynx, also known as the voice box. This condition is called as laryngitis. Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice is quite a common condition and resolves within a few days; however, if it does not resolve even after a couple of weeks then it may point to an underlying medical condition needing proper diagnosis and treatment.
What Causes Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice?
Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice normally is caused due to a medical condition called laryngitis which is inflammation of the larynx or the voice box. This happens mostly due to viral infection affecting the respiratory tract or an attack of cough or cold. Some of the common causes of Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice include:
- Acid reflux
- Excessive smoking
- Alcohol abuse
- Screaming consistently as often seen in rock shows or music concerts
- Allergies to certain substances like dust
- Inhalation of toxic materials
- Excessive coughing
- Throat infection.
There are also some medical conditions that may result in Hoarseness of Voice which include:
- Vocal cord polyps
- Cancer of the throat, lungs, or thyroid gland
- Any surgical procedure involving the throat which may damage the structures of the throat
- Abnormality of the thyroid gland
- Aortic aneurysms.
What are the Symptoms Accompanying Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice Which may Indicate a Serious Medical Condition?
Usually Hoarseness of Voice is a benign condition but consultation with a physician is a must in case the following symptoms occur along with it:
- Drooling, especially seen in children
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Aphasia or complete lack of the ability to speak.
Treatment Tips to Help Get Rid of Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice
Below mentioned are some ways to get rid of Hoarseness of Voice:
- Avoid shouting or screaming for a few days to give the larynx or the voice box some rest so that it can retain its normal function.
- Stay hydrated as it will help in making the throat wet and hence help with the hoarseness.
- It is important to abstain from alcohol and smoking in order to get rid of hoarseness or hoarse voice soon.
- You can also use a humidifier as it may help a lot in easing breathing and open up the airway and help in getting rid of hoarseness or hoarse voice.
- Try to maintain a clean environment so that allergens like dust and other particles which may be responsible for Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice.
- Try and avoid taking decongestants as they do more harm than good.
If the above treatments do not help the symptoms, then consultation with a physician may be required to identify the cause of the Hoarseness and specific treatment may be formulated to get rid of it.
Home Remedies for Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice
Apart from the above mentioned treatment tips to help get rid of Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice, there are also some natural home remedies for Hoarseness or hoarse voice:
Honey and Lemon Juice is an Effective Home Remedy for Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice: Honey is quite useful in treating a lot of skin, stomach and throat related conditions. For treating Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice, the best way to use Honey is to mix it with lemon. This can be done by boiling the lemon and allowing it to cool down before taking out its juice and mixing it with honey and drinking it. This method greatly helps with Hoarseness of Voice. The solution should be taken two or three times a day about two tablespoons each time.
Salt Water Gargles is Considered as One of the Best Home Remedies for Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice: Mix about half a spoon of salt and turmeric in a glass of hot water and gargle with this solution about two to three times a day or as often as possible. This is quite useful in soothing down any inflammation of the throat or the larynx and helps a great deal in getting rid of Hoarseness of Voice
Ginger to Treat Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice Naturally at Home: Ginger is also an exceptionally good medicinal root especially to treat Hoarseness of Voice. Ginger can beaten raw or mixed with tea or juice and taken. Ginger soothes the throat and the larynx and eliminates any inflammation that may be present. Chewing ginger candy or crystallized ginger can also be very beneficial in treating hoarseness or hoarse voice.
Garlic with Mustard Oil: Garlic has certain enzymes which can be helpful in treating a lot of medical conditions. In fact some people say that garlic is as good as a prescription medication for some conditions. Garlic is also helpful in curing Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice. You can take a teaspoon of mustard oil and mix garlic paste into it. You can mix this in the food that you eat and in a few days time more often than not you will get rid of Hoarseness of Voice.
What can be Expected During Physician Evaluation for Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice?
In case if the Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice does not resolve on its own in few days and is accompanied by symptoms mentioned above then a consultation with a physician is a must. To begin with, the physician will inquire as to the duration of the symptoms. The physician will also ask if you have been to any rock concerts and doing a lot of screaming which may have irritated the larynx. The physician will also take a detailed social history in which he or she may ask whether you have a history of smoking or alcohol use. The physician may then examine the throat to look for any signs of inflammation or redness and based on the symptoms the physician may also order radiological studies like x-ray or CT scan of the throat to look at the cause of the Hoarseness or Hoarse Voice. A blood draw may also be performed to make sure that there is no infection present that may be causing the symptoms.
Can Hoarseness of Voice be Prevented?
Yes, there are certain ways which can prevent Hoarseness of Voice. These methods are:
- Regularly gargling with warm salt water daily is the best way to prevent hoarseness or hoarse voice.
- Avoid smoking and abusing alcohol as they can irritate the larynx and cause the voice to become hoarse.
- Wash hands thoroughly before and after eating so that allergens commonly found in the atmosphere do not infiltrate the body and cause infections which may in turn lead to Hoarseness of Voice
- Keep yourself well hydrated by taking plenty of fluids as that causes the throat to be wet and prevents Hoarseness of Voice
- Try and not clear your throat frequently as this may irritate the throat and the voice box and cause Hoarseness of Voice.