Causes of hoarseness include acid reflux, inhaling toxic substances, overusing the vocal cords, drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, and viral infections in the upper respiratory tract, states Healthline. These causes prevent a person from making smooth vocal sounds when speaking.
Hoarseness is an abnormal change in volume and pitch in the voice. It typically results from an inflammation of the vocal cords, called acute laryngitis, due to an upper respiratory infection. Overusing the voice by singing or yelling can also lead to hoarseness. Other causes include inhaling respiratory tract irritants, gastroesophageal reflux and trauma to the vocal cords, according to MedicineNet.
Ways of reducing symptoms of hoarseness include drinking hydrating fluids to moisten the throat and avoiding caffeine and alcohol, as these drinks can dry the throat. Individuals should also avoid allergens, limit smoking, and should not use decongestants for hoarseness to prevent irritating the throat. Whispering and shouting should also be avoided, as this can strain the voice cords. Taking hot showers can help to open airways and provide them with moisture, notes Healthline.
If symptoms persist, patients should seek medical attention. During diagnosis, a doctor may ask about medical history and factors that are making the condition worse, such as shouting and smoking. The doctor may then examine the throat to detect any abnormalities, Healthline advises.