What causes hoarseness?
There are many causes of hoarseness. These can be broadly categorized into anatomic and functional causes. Anatomic causes range from vocal inflammation from environmental irritants to vocal cysts and even laryngeal cancers. Functional causes (vocal misuse) are often compensatory mechanisms to some irritant to the voice box.
How is hoarseness diagnosed?
If hoarseness lasts beyond 4 weeks, further evaluation should be undertaken. The primary mode of evaluation of via flexible laryngoscopy and stroboscopy. This is a well-tolerated in-office procedure in which your doctor looks at the vocal cords with a small camera passed through the nose. Videostroboscopy allows your doctor to evaluate your voice box in “slow motion” to improved diagnosis. Occasionally, additional evaluate in the way of laboratory tests and CT scan may be needed.
How is hoarseness treated?
The treatment of hoarseness depends on the cause of the symptoms. Treatment often involves both your ENT doctor and a speech therapist. We will work together to restore your voice through all possible avenues including therapy, medical treatment, and surgery when needed.
When should I see a doctor?
Hoarseness often goes away on its own, but if it lingers for more than a few weeks, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our otolaryngologists.