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Hoarseness :- Causes and Home Remedies For The Treatment of Hoarseness

Hoarseness is a general term which describes abnormal voice changes. Hoarseness is a huskiness of voice. It is due to irritation of the vocal cords. Hoarseness may take several forms, including a breathiness, raspiness, strain of the voice, or changes in loudness or the tone of the voice. However, when speaking or singing, the vocal cords are brought together, essentially narrowing the air flow and vibrating, producing sound. The smaller the opening and the tighter the vocal cords are held together, and the more rapidly the vocal cords vibrate, the higher the pitch of the voice. The voice becomes abnormal and indistinct and is characterized by a roughness. This is generally a self limited condition. However in some cases it may also accompany cold and/or some chronic disease. Hoarseness arises from some irritation of the mucus membranes lining the upper portion of windpipe or throat.

Causes of Hoarseness

  • The most common causes are acute laryngitis which usually occurs due to swelling from a common cold, upper respiratory tract viral infection, or irritation caused by excessive voice use such as screaming at a sporting event or rock concert.
  • It can also due to growth in the larynx caused by human papilloma viral infection.
  • Vocal nodules are common in children and adults who raise their voice in work or play. Uncommonly, polyps or nodules may lead to cancer.
  • One of the most prevalent causes of hoarseness, especially in adults, is gastroesophageal reflux. In this condition, stomach acid comes up from the stomach into the esophagus and into the throat, irritating the vocal cords and the throat itself. It is caused by the inflammation of the voice box.
  • More prolonged hoarseness is usually due to using your voice either too much,or over use of voice. These habits can lead to vocal nodules (singers' nodes), which are callous-like growths, or may lead to polyps of the vocal cords (more extensive swelling). Both of these conditions are benign. Vocal nodules are common in children and adults who raise their voice in work or play. Singers sometimes develop nodules on their vocal cords and suffer from hoarseness. Allergies are a common non-infectious processes that can result in hoarseness. The secretions produced in common allergies can drip into the throat (post-nasal drip) irritating the throat and vocal cords. Allergies can also cause swelling of the vocal cords resulting in hoarseness.
  • Smoking is a major cause of hoarseness. Smoke irritates the mucous membranes and vocal cords.
  • A common cause of hoarseness in older adults is gastroesophageal reflux, when stomach acid comes up the swallowing tube (esophagus) and irritates the vocal folds.
  • Many unusual causes for hoarseness include allergies, thyroid problems, neurological disorders, trauma to the voice box and occasionally the normal menstrual cycle. Many people experience some hoarseness with advanced age.

Treatment of Hoarseness:-

Most hoarseness does not require treatment and in such cases modified vocal rest is sufficient. Hoarseness due to a cold or flu may be evaluated by family physicians, pediatricians, and internists (who have learned how to examine the larynx). However, when hoarseness lasts more than a few weeks, it should be evaluated by a throat specialist. Problems with the voice are best managed by a team of professionals who know and understand how the voice functions. Some hoarseness may be of complex origin and treatment of the hoarseness may require any one of several professionals, including an otolaryngologist, a speech pathologist, or a vocal coach.

The otolaryngologist may make some recommendations about voice use behavior, refer the patient to other voice team members, and in some instances recommend surgery if a lesion, such as a polyp, is identified

The speech and language pathologist may teach patients to alter their method of speech production to improve the sound of the voice and to resolve problems, such as vocal nodules.

Diagnosis of Hoarseness:-

An otolaryngologist will obtain a thorough history of the hoarseness and your general health To perform indirect laryngoscopy.,The otolaryngologist seats himself facing the patient with his legs to the source of light. Normally illumation is provided by a bull's eye lamp placed on the patient's left, on a level with his/ her mouth, and its beam adjusted so that it is reflected and focused by the head mirror worn by the otolaryngologist or a very small, lighted flexible tube (fiberoptic scope) may be passed through your nose in order to view your vocal cords Radiographic modalities can also aid in the differential diagnosis, although direct visualization of the larynx and other structures is needed for a definitive diagnosis .

Prevention and General Home Care in Hoarseness:-

  • Gargling has no therapeutic effect on the vocal cords. Avoid decongestants because they dry the vocal cords and prolong irritation.
  • Give as much rest to the voice as possible.
  • Take steam inhalation.
  • Control your cough.
  • Avoid taking alcohol.
  • Avoid whispering as it strains the vocal cord more than speaking does.
  • Avoiding exposure to others with infections may also reduce the risk of hoarseness.
  • Seek professional voice training
  • Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is injured or hoarse
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Quit smoking

Home Remedies to cure Hoarsness:-

  • Black Pepper:- Try 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper powder & 1 teaspoon of clarified Butter.
  • Honey:- Add a little honey to the juice of 10 basil leaves and lick slowly. A spoonful is sufficient to restore the voice.
  • Apple cider vinegar :-  For laryngitis a folk remedy from Vermont uses one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to half glass of water, taken every hour for seven hours.
  • Ginger :- Peel the skin from a small ginger root. Slice the root into thin coins and place the pieces into a small pot of water. Boil the pieces to make tea. The tea should turn a yellowish (straw) or tan color. Add three tablespoons of your favorite honey to sweeten the tea. Sip the hot tea slowly. The tea gives a sharp tingle to the throat after swallowing it. After you sip it, gently clear your throat. This tea also works for trying to get your voice back after a cold.
  • Onion syrup :-  Another excellent gargle is made from onion syrup, honey and lemon. To make the onion syrup: slice three large onions and put them in four or five cups of water; simmer until syrupy; strain. Next, put five or six tablespoonful of the syrup into a glass of warm water, along with a tablespoon of honey and a dash of lemon. Sip slowly.
  • Roasted Grams:- At night, eat roasted grams and drink warm water on it to get relief.
  • Turmeric :- Put little turmeric in hot milk and then drink it to get relief.

When to call a doctor:-

  • When it has lasted more than a week
  • There is difficulty in breathing or swallowing.
  • If it return often
  • Hoarseness is accompanied by drooling, especially in a small child.
  • It there is hoarseness without cold.
  • Hoarseness is present in a child less than 3 months old
  • Hoarseness due to injury to voice.

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