Hoarseness is a change in voice, typically low in volume and raspy. The cause of hoarseness can be a wide variety of things, although inflammation of the vocal cords caused by an upper respiratory infection is the most common. Other causes include – allergies, smoking, cancer of the larynx, laryngopharyngeal reflux, benign vocal cord nodules, inhalation of irritants, poor vocal hygiene etc. Resting your vocal cords, cough suppressants, and humidifiers can sometimes help relieve hoarseness.
Hoarseness is also sometimes caused by vocal cord paralysis. This can be caused by a complication from thyroid, carotid or anterior spine surgery. It can also be caused by cancer along the path of the nerve that goes to the vocal cords. Because the nerve travels from the skull base into the lungs and then turns back to head up to the vocal cords, lung cancer can also cause hoarseness. Also sometimes patients develop a paralyzed vocal cord for no identifiable reason, much like some patients develop facial paralyisis for no identifiable reason (Bells Palsy).
Hoarseness can also be caused by vocal cord atrophy (thinning of the vocal cords) often seen as a result of aging, or as a result of neurological conditions such as parkinson’s disease.
However, if continued hoarseness persists, seeing your health care provider is recommended.
Call Waco Ear, Nose & Throat at (254) 776-7744 for more information or to schedule an appointment.