What Are the Most Common Causes of Hoarseness?


Quick Answer

Acute laryngitis, which is the inflammation of the vocal cords, is the most common cause of hoarseness, according to MedicineNet. Other causes include allergies, smoking, inhaling toxic substances, and drinking caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, states Healthline.

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Full Answer

Hoarseness is a condition in which the voice changes in volume and pitch, notes MedicineNet. It occurs from an injury or irritation of the vocal cords, which are the folds that vibrate and produce sound when singing or speaking. The symptoms and onset of this condition depend on the cause.

During diagnosis, the doctor will ask the patient about the hoarseness condition and any other symptoms, explains MedicineNet. The doctor will then do a physical examination, focusing on the neck and the head. In case there are no identified causes, the doctor may insert a long, flexible tube, called a fiberoptic scope, into the throat to visualize the vocal cords.

Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and focusing on hydrating fluids may soften the throat, relieving symptoms of hoarseness, details Healthline. Patients should limit smoking to prevent irritating the throat and take hot showers to open airways and provide moisture. They should also eliminate allergens and avoid shouting or whispering, as this action strains the voice cords. If the symptoms persist, patients should seek medical attention to determine the cause of the problem and to receive proper treatment.

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