Hoarse Voice Overview

A hoarse voice is where the voice seems lower in volume or has a rough or raspy sound. Hoarseness can arise from various causes, such as simply over-using your voice (yelling, cheering, choir singing), or a night of excessive smoking and alcohol. On the other hand, hoarseness is a symptom of choking (airway foreign body) and also of a thoracic aortic aneurysm, which is a life-threatening disorder that often has few early symptoms.

Infectious causes of hoarseness include the well-known disease of laryngitis, croup, and various other respiratory infections (e.g. measles, diphtheria, etc.). The larynx may be damaged by recurring reflux or vomiting, such as in GERD, bulimia nervosa or other vomiting disorders.

Various other non-infectious disorders of the larynx and voice cords can cause hoarseness, such as vocal cord polyps, vocal cord paralysis, larynx tumors, etc. Other systemic disease causes include thyroid disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.

There are many causes, including some serious disorders and a few emergency causes (e.g. aneurysm); see your doctor promptly for a full diagnosis or seek emergency care if a life-threatening cause is suspected.

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.