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Hoarseness, It's Nothing to Whisper About

By HERWriter
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Changes in your voice that do not sound normal are known as hoarseness. Some voice changes are caused by other temporary illnesses, like allergies or a cold. In other cases, hoarseness can be a symptom of a more serious problem.

Hoarseness is typically caused by something that affects how the vocal cords or folds work. When we breathe, the vocal folds separate to allow air to pass through. When we vocalize, the vocal folds come together. Air passing between the folds causes them to vibrate, which produces the sounds of speaking or singing. Swelling or lumps on the vocal folds can change the way our voice sounds, causing hoarseness.

Hoarseness can mean a variety of changes in the sound of our voice. It may sound breathy, raspy, strained, or the pitch may change either up or down. Hoarseness can last for a few days, weeks, or even months, and can be caused by a number of different conditions.

Laryngitis – The vocal cords may swell as a result of a common cold, upper respiratory infection, or voice strain. You can seriously damage your vocal folds if you abuse your voice while you have laryngitis;

Voice Misuse - You can over-exert your voice in many different ways including talking loudly, excessive use of the voice which can include singing or speaking, talking on the telephone with the handset cradled against your shoulder, speaking in an unnaturally high or low pitch, or not using a microphone when speaking to a large group in public;

Vocal Cord Lesions – Nodules, cysts, or polyps can grow on your vocal folds if you use your voice too much or too loudly;

Vocal Hemorrhage – If you suddenly lose your voice after yelling or other strenuous voice use, you may have a hemorrhage in one of the blood vessels on the vocal fold. When this happens, the tissue of the vocal fold can fill up with blood. This is a vocal emergency that requires complete voice rest and immediate treatment by an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor);

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.