If your voice sounds rough or husky, you may have dysphonia – commonly called hoarseness.
Hoarseness should go away after a short time but, if it lasts for three weeks or more, you should contact AAENT.
Hoarseness extends beyond mere vocal discomfort. It serves as a critical indicator, flagged by our vocal cords, hinting at potential underlying issues. This condition, when persistent, can cast a shadow on personal conversations and professional engagements, altering the quality and ctone of one’s voice and thus potentially changing the dynamics of interactions.
Understanding the profound implications of hoarseness, Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery emerges as a beacon of hope and expertise. With a team deeply versed in the nuances of vocal health, we delve into the diverse causes behind hoarseness, offering patients not just treatment but holistic guidance. Our unwavering goal is to rejuvenate the natural clarity and robustness of every voice seeking our help.
What is Hoarseness?
Hoarseness refers to an abnormal voice change, manifesting as a raspy, breathy, strained voice, or even resulting in decreased voice volume. This alteration is typically due to issues affecting the vocal cords or larynx, the voice box. It’s not just a singer’s concern; it can be indicative of underlying health issues that demand attention.
Identifying Symptoms & Reasons for Hoarseness
- Chronic voice fatigue or strain
- A scratchy or rough voice quality
- Voice breaks or fading
- Throat pain or a feeling of a “lump”
- Decreased pitch range
- Persistent cough or need to clear throat
How is hoarseness diagnosed?
At AAENT, we will want to listen to your voice and examine your head and neck. We will check for any lumps in your neck and examine your voice box using a laryngoscope, which is a lightened instrument that will be inserted into the back of your throat through your nostrils. If there is cause for concern, our doctors may order the following tests:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
How can hoarseness be prevented?
There are some easy ways to prevent a hoarse voice. You should practice them especially if you use your voice for professional reasons, particularly if that’s every day. Try the following to help prevent hoarseness:
- Quit smoking. Stay away from second-hand smoke.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine and other fluids that dehydrate your body.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use a humidifier.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Keep yourself from using your voice for too long.
- Keep yourself from using your voice too loudly.
How does AAENT evaluate hoarseness?
The first thing our providers do is listen to the quality of the patient’s voice. They then perform a physical exam with special attention to the sinuses, oral cavity, and neck. A flexible laryngoscopy is then performed following placement of medicine to open up and numb the nose and throat. This allows evaluation of the vocal cords for inflammation, tumors, and movement. If any significant findings are discovered or if the cause of the hoarseness is not discovered by the initial examinations, then a flexible laryngoscopy with videostroboscopy is performed.
Did You Know?
A flexible laryngoscopy and videostroboscopy is performed in conjunction with our Speech Pathologist, Heather Langford who has over 20+ years experience with voice and swallowing analysis. The videostroboscopy portion of the procedure allows evaluation of the wave created on the vocal cord by flashing a light in sequence with the frequency of the voice. The images are then recorded for a more in depth analysis for lesions not easily seen with the naked eye.
The vocal cords vibrate faster than the human retinae can see. The videostroboscopy also allows an in depth analysis of the movement of the vocal cords, such as movement found in partial paralysis or paralysis.
The Treatment Process for Hoarseness at Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery
At Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery, we recognize the significance of voice in one’s life. Thus, our treatment process is a blend of cutting-edge medical advancements, compassionate care, and a relentless commitment to restoring the natural rhythm and resonance of each voice that seeks our expertise.
How does AAENT treat hoarseness?
There are several different methods. AAENT may use, such as:
- Vocal hygiene instruction
- Treatment of reflux, if present, with medications, lifestyle and diet change recommendations, and, in rare instances, surgery to fix a hiatal hernia or weak lower esophageal sphincter.
- Voice therapy to treat excessive straining, minimize behaviors that lead to vocal nodules, polyps, and granulomas.
- Surgery to remove vocal nodule (in rare instances), vocal polyps, vocal cyst, scarring of the vocal cords, removal of laryngeal tumors.
- Vocal cord injections of calcium or hyaluronic acid-based material to treat vocal cord paralysis or thinning of the vocal cords associated with aging. AAENT is one of the only practices in the region with the ability to perform this procedure under local anesthesia. The procedure usually takes a brief office visit and patients are able to begin voicing immediately.
Navigating Life Post Treatment for Hoarseness
Post-treatment at Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery, individuals begin a new chapter in their vocal journey. They are not just beneficiaries of advanced medical interventions but are also empowered with a repertoire of tools and techniques. These range from specialized voice exercises to certain recommended lifestyle adjustments, all meticulously curated to ensure sustained vocal health and richness.
The healing process doesn’t end when the initial treatment does; it evolves. Understanding this, Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery emphasizes the importance of regular post-treatment check-ins. These sessions act as both touchpoints and checkpoints, ensuring the recovery trajectory remains positive. Furthermore, they provide an opportunity to swiftly address emerging concerns, ensuring every patient continues to speak with renewed clarity, vigor, and utmost confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does hoarseness typically last?
A: Duration can vary. While some cases of hoarseness might be short-lived, resulting from a cold or strain, others can be persistent and might indicate a more serious condition.
Q: Are there home remedies to treat hoarseness?
A: While home remedies like staying hydrated and avoiding smoking can help, it’s essential to see a specialist if hoarseness persists to ensure there’s no serious underlying condition.
Q: Can hoarseness be prevented?
A: Certain preventive measures, like not screaming or shouting and avoiding throat irritants, can help. However, understanding and addressing the root cause is crucial.
Why Choose AAENT for Hoarseness Concerns?
Choosing Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery means combining expertise, compassion, and state-of-the-art technology. Our dedicated team understands the intricacies of the voice, ensuring each patient receives individualized care. With a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment, we stand as a beacon for those seeking voice health and wellness.
Reclaim Your Voice with Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery
Don’t let hoarseness dim the strength and beauty of your voice. Take action today. The specialists at Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery are here to guide you back to clear, vibrant vocal expression. Connect with us at (410) 573-9191 and set the tone for a brighter vocal future.