Typically, when you feel your voice getting a bit hoarse, it’s an indication that you’re developing a cold, respiratory tract or throat infection. If this is the case, you can count on getting your voice back after a couple of days.
But if your hoarseness persists for three weeks or longer, you should get yourself to your local Colorado voice clinic to rule out the possibility of a more severe condition. That said, with the following conditions, hoarseness is usually among the first warning signs you might experience.
Overusing or Abusing Your Voice
Individuals who have jobs that involve projecting their voice could sometimes develop harmless growths right in their vocal cords, which could, in turn, result in hoarseness. If you don’t rest your voice and address what’s causing the hoarseness, there’s a chance that you might develop an injury.
Luckily for individuals who depend on overexerting their voices during work – think teachers, sports coaches, and vocalists – they can learn tactics for talking more efficiently that will cause their vocal cords less stress.
Different Kinds of Infections
In general, infections, whether they are fungal, bacterial, or viral, that impacts the larynx, could result in hoarseness that would go away without intervention. However, it’s crucial to note that more serious viral infections could actually injure certain nerves that help vocal function.
When this occurs, aside from general hoarseness, you may also feel weakness when speaking, as your vocal cords get more fatigued throughout the day.
In individuals with autoimmune diseases, their immune system attacks itself. This could result in their vocal cords becoming inflamed, leading to hoarseness. This symptom might be notably worse in those with Sjorgen’s syndrome, because it can lead to injury in the glands that generate saliva and tears, resulting in a dry throat and mouth.
Other autoimmune diseases that are associated with hoarseness are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, and scleroderma.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD
While hoarseness is considered one of the earliest warning signs of GERD, the problem is that plenty of doctors prescribe GERD medications to treat their hoarseness without doing more extensive tests on them. This could lead to them being misdiagnosed.
With that said, individuals who experience persistent hoarseness should ideally undergo a laryngoscopy for a more comprehensive assessment of their vocal cords. If the test found no malignancy or issues, only then can GERD medications should be considered.
Atrophy of The Vocal Cords
As you enter your 60s, you may feel your voice getting more hoarse and weaker. The reason for this is that your vocal cords are beginning to atrophy. The good news is that it could be treated with injectable fillers on the vocal cords to enable them to come in contact better, which will make your voice louder.
Bottom line – if you experience changes, particularly hoarseness when speaking, that you can’t attribute to a sore throat or infection, or if you’re experiencing persistent hoarseness for longer than three weeks, go to your doctor as soon as you’re able.
Early diagnosis leads to accurate treatment and reduce your risk of developing complications.