Hoarseness in Tarzana

Hoarseness - Marc Cohen M.D, Tarzana Surgeon


Hoarseness refers to an abnormal change in your voice that makes it sound strained, raspy, or breathy, with random changes in volume or pitch.

Hoarseness is not a disease, but a symptom of a disorder affecting the vocal folds. It can be caused by:

  • Aging
  • Acid reflux
  • Smoking
  • Improper use of your voice
  • Trauma to the voice box
  • Allergies - cold or respiratory tract virus
  • Conditions such as thyroid disorders, stroke, cancer, or neurological problems

In most cases, hoarseness tends to disappear on its own after a while. But if it lasts for more than 10 - 14 days, you should visit an ENT specialist for diagnosis of larynx cancer or another cause.

Identifying the cause based on your voice quality

An ENT specialist can use your voice quality to identify the cause of hoarseness. For instance:

  • A raspy voice usually indicates voice abuse, inflammation from infection, paralysis or swelling of the vocal cords, or chemical irritants
  • A breathy voice usually indicates poor vocal cord function due to a polyp, benign tumor, or larynx cancer
  • A soft voice or high, shaky voice usually indicates difficulty getting enough breathing air

Diagnosis and treatment

If you're concerned about the hoarseness, Dr. Cohen will perform a few tests to identify the cause. You can expect:

  • A thorough review of your medical history
  • Examination of the voice box and surrounding tissue using a mirror
  • Evaluation of voice quality
  • Lab tests - including x-rays and biopsy

Most cases of hoarseness can be treated by drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding things that cause dehydration like alcohol and smoking, and resting your voice. If there're polyps or nodules on your vocal folds, Dr. Cohen may recommend surgery.

Contact us today for help diagnosing the cause of your hoarseness.