Do you often have a hoarse voice? You’re not alone. Hoarseness is a common problem that can occur for a variety of reasons. However if you have been experiencing hoarseness for more than a few weeks, it is important to see an ENT specialist. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about hoarseness, from the symptoms to when you should seek treatment.
What is hoarseness?
The first step in understanding hoarseness is to define the problem. Hoarseness, also known as dysphonia, occurs when there is a change in your voice due to an injury or irritation of the vocal cords. The vocal cords are two bands of muscle located in the larynx, or voice box. These muscles vibrate when you breathe in and out, and this vibration is what produces your voice.
There are a variety of symptoms that can indicate hoarseness. If you have a hoarse voice, you may also notice that your voice is raspy, breathy, or harsh. You may also have difficulty speaking for long periods of time or experience pain when you speak.
When To Seek Treatment
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for more than a few weeks, it is important to see an ENT specialist. An ENT is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of problems with the ears, nose, and throat. They will be able to determine the cause of your hoarseness and recommend the best treatment.
An ENT will usually start by asking about your medical history and symptoms. They may also perform a physical exam of your head and neck that checks for lumps or abnormalities. They will likely also look at your vocal cords using an instrument called a laryngoscope.
A laryngoscope is an instrument used to view the larynx, or voice box. It is a thin, metal tube with a light and a magnifying lens on the end. The laryngoscope is inserted into the nostrils and passed down the throat to the larynx. This allows the doctor to see the vocal cords and check for any abnormalities.
After the physical exam, the ENT may order tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include a CT scan or MRI of the head and neck, a laryngeal biopsy, or voice testing.
Once the ENT has diagnosed hoarseness, they will work with you to develop a treatment plan. The goal of treatment is to relieve your symptoms and help you regain your normal voice. Treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes, vocal cord injections, or surgery. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for your individual case.
You can also take steps to prevent hoarseness in the future. Some simple tips include drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke, and avoiding irritants such as dust or pollution. If you use your voice a lot for work or hobbies, be sure to take breaks and rest your voice regularly.
Hoarseness is a common problem that can have a variety of causes. If you have been experiencing hoarseness for more than a few weeks, it is important to see an ENT specialist. With the help of an ENT, you can develop a treatment plan that will help you regain your normal voice. You can also take steps to prevent hoarseness in the future by avoiding irritants and taking breaks to rest your voice.