Hoarseness is a condition in which your voice sounds raspy, strained and breathy. There are many causes to hoarseness, including:
  • Excessive use of voice
  • Cold or sinus infection
  • Laryngitis: when your vocal folds swell temporarily due to a cold, infection or allergies
  • Gastroesophageal reflux: also known as heartburn, this condition occurs when stomach acid goes up into your throat
  • Vocal cord palsy: where 1 of your vocal cords fail to move or appose upon phonation.
  • Vocal fold haemorrhage: if you voice suddenly disappears, or if you can speak but not sing, it is a sign of a vocal fold haemorrhage
  • Neck trauma
  • Vocal cord nodules, cysts or polyps
  • Laryngeal cancer


Depending on the cause, condition and its severity, treatment options can vary. Common treatment methods include:
  • Vocal rest
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Antacids and gastric protective medication
  • Dietary changes
  • Voice therapy


Hoarseness can be prevented for the most part by following simple habits and making the right lifestyle changes:
  • Quit smoking
  • Encourage hydration
  • Observe voice hygiene
  • Treat gastro-esophageal reflux
  • Protect against neck trauma with protective head gear or seatbelts where applicable.

Adult ENT