Changes in the voice that cause it to sound breathy, strained, or raspy can be more than a little inconvenient, especially if you have a high-profile job. Vocal hoarseness is caused by changes to the vocal folds of the larynx (also called the voice box).

When breathing, the vocal folds move apart, letting air through. When speaking, the folds come together and vibrate, producing sounds. Any abnormalities on the folds, including lesions, cysts, tears, or swelling, can cause hoarseness.

Smoking as well as vocal overuse (frequent screaming, yelling, speaking to a large crowd without proper amplification, or singing) can lead to hoarseness. A speech pathologist can help people with hoarseness to learn to use their voice more conservatively but rest may be needed if overuse is diagnosed. Reducing or eliminating smoking can also have a very positive effect.

It’s a good idea to see your OrlandoENT physician if you experience hoarseness for more than 3 weeks, especially if you don’t have a cold or the flu. If you lose your voice completely for more than a couple of days or experience difficulty breathing, pain, or swelling in your neck or throat.

If you’re a performer in Orlando experiencing hoarseness so that it interferes with your livelihood, come by and see us at OrlandoENT.


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