Hoarse Voice for Months: Causes and Solutions

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Have you been experiencing hoarse voice for
months? Then, this video is for you. I am going to tell you about 5 most common
causes of chronic hoarseness. And I will also tell you the very first step
you need to take on the way to recovery. Stick around, I’ll be right back. Hi! I am Katarina, speech language pathologist
from How 2 Improve Singing and here on this channel, I share practical tips about using
your voice in a healthy way. So, if this is a topic that interests you,
consider subscribing to this channel and hitting that bell notification icon so that you don’t
miss any of my videos. Ok, let’s talk about chronic hoarseness. The term hoarseness generally describes abnormal
voice changes. When your voice is hoarse, it means that you
may sound breathy, raspy, strained, or you may have trouble speaking or singing loudly
or in higher vocal ranges. You may have no pain or it may be painful
to talk. The changes can be mild or very severe, they
can come and go or stay for the whole day. Acute hoarseness lasts less than two weeks. Chronic hoarseness lasts more than two weeks. So, if you’ve had hoarse voice for months,
it means you have chronic hoarseness and it’s time to take action! There are many causes of hoarseness. Acute hoarseness, that lasts less than 2 weeks,
is most frequently caused by an acute infection, such as common cold or flu, and luckily this
type of hoarseness is not serious and goes away after the infection subsides. But chronic hoarseness is a different story. Here are 5 common causes of hoarse voice that
lasts longer than 2 weeks: Cause #1 Vocal Abuse, Misuse or Overuse
Vocal abuse is any vocal behaviour with high impact on the vocal folds. Examples of such behaviours are yelling, screaming,
excessive coughing or throat clearing. During these behaviours, your vocal folds
bang against each other in a very abrupt and forceful way, which causes their damage and
swelling. When you sing or speak with faulty vocal technique,
you can also cause vocal fold swelling and hoarseness. Some people call it vocal misuse. For example, if you push your voice to increase
loudness, if you engage muscles unnecessary for voice production, you are straining your
voice beyond its normal limits. This is a very common scenario when talking
or singing while sick. For example, you get a cold or flu but you
continue speaking or singing. In order to produce good quality voice, you
need to exert more vocal effort and maybe push your voice a little bit more than normal. After the sickness goes away, you continue
using this effortful way of voice production, which leads to more hoarseness and vocal fold
swelling. That’s how chronic hoarseness often develops. Another common scenario is using incorrect
vocal technique when singing. If you get hoarse after or during singing,
your body is telling you that you are not using your vocal instrument in a healthy way. It is a warning sign that should be taken
seriously. I made a video on this topic and you can watch
it by clicking this link. Now, let’s say that you have good vocal
technique but you still get hoarse after speaking or singing. You may be overusing your vocal instrument. Vocal overuse happens when vocal folds work
more than they are conditioned to. This is a very typical problem for professional
voice users, such as singers, actors, presenters, sales people, teachers and especially music
teachers, or anyone whose voice is essential in their daily jobs. In this case, you are not giving your voice
a chance to recover properly. Here is the deal: your vocal folds come together
hundreds of times every single second when you produce voiced sounds. Every time the vocal folds collide, there
is some loss of cells from the superficial layer of the vocal folds. Luckily for us, vocal folds have an amazing
ability to repair themselves but we need to give them time. If you are overusing your voice, the vocal
folds don’t get a chance to restore, which results in vocal fold swelling and hoarseness. It is easy to eliminate these behaviours once
you know what they are. However, sometimes, people don’t even know
that they are misusing their voices. To help you uncover vocal behaviours that
may be the cause of hoarseness, I prepared a free checklist that you can get by clicking
this link or a link below this video. Cause #2 Reflux
Acid reflux, GERD, LPRD or laryngo-pharyngeal reflux are just a few names for a condition
when acidic fluids from the stomach flow backward into the esophagus and throat, which may cause
irritation of the larynx. Acid reflux is a very common cause of chronic
hoarseness. Very often, people are not even aware of having
reflux because some types of reflux don’t have obvious symptoms, such as heartburn or
indigestion. Sometimes, the only symptom can be morning
hoarseness. That is because the backward flow of acid
fluids is worse when lying down. So, when you wake up after a good night sleep,
your vocal folds are irritated. Hoarseness then improves throughout the day
and returns again after lying down or in the morning. Other symptoms of acid reflux can be the sensation
of having a lump in the throat, called globus sensation, chronic throat clearing or coughing,
or difficulty swallowing. Cause #3 Allergies
How can allergies cause hoarseness? Allergens themselves can irritate the vocal
folds and cause inflammation, swelling and hoarseness. When you suffer from allergies, your nose
is runny or stuffed up. Some of the secretions made in the nose can
then drip down onto the vocal folds and cause irritation in this way. Also, you may feel the need to clear your
throat or cough often, which are behaviours that are definitely abusive to the vocal folds,
if they persist for a long time. And some allergy medication can also cause
hoarseness. For example, antihistamines have a drying
effect on the mucus in your nose but also on the mucus covering the vocal folds. Dried up vocal folds can lead to hoarseness. Cause #4 Smoking
Smoking is an obvious cause of hoarseness. It’s been well researched and documented
that smoking causes changes on the vocal folds, for example their thickening and even cancer. This cause should not be a surprise for anyone
anymore. In recent years, vaping is becoming more and
more prominent and while we don’t know much about vaping and its effects on human body,
I would encourage caution. Cause #5 Other Causes
Less common causes of hoarseness may include growths on the vocal folds, including cancerous
growths or benign lesions such as vocal nodules, polyps, or cysts. Also, neurological disorders, hormonal problems
and other chronic conditions may lead to hoarseness. Some of these may be very serious and some
of them can be treated easily. So, what should you do with chronic hoarseness
of voice? As you can see, there are many different causes
of hoarseness. Each of these causes is treated differently,
so the very first step in treating chronic hoarseness is establishing its cause. And this can be done only with the help of
a professional, more specifically an ENT doctor. So, the first step in getting rid of your
hoarse voice is making that phone call to schedule a visit with your doctor who can
diagnose the underlying cause. Once you know the real cause of your problem,
a treatment plan can be developed. This can include improving vocal hygiene,
reducing vocal use, eliminating vocal abuse, also voice therapy, surgery, medical management
of acid reflux, allergies, and other underlying conditions. So, the bottom line is, if you have hoarse
voice for months, talk to your doctor. Start looking for real solutions that will
help you regain your voice back. It may take some time to deal with chronic
hoarseness, so be patient. I hope you liked this video. If you did, give it thumbs up. And check out my other videos right here below. I will see you in the next one.

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