What causes hoarseness?

The causes of hoarseness are numerous, ranging from benign to being a symptom of a serious condition. Overuse of the vocal cords, such as shouting, could be the underlying cause of hoarseness. Infections like the common cold or laryngitis can also lead to voice changes. Allergies and acid reflux are other culprits, as they can cause inflammation and irritation of the vocal cords. Smoking, inhaling irritants, or hormonal changes can also cause hoarseness. More concerning causes include vocal cord nodules, polyps, paralysis, or even cancer of the larynx.

What are the symptoms of hoarseness?

Hoarseness often presents with other symptoms, depending on its cause. These can include a sore throat, cough, difficulty swallowing, a lump in the throat sensation, or shortness of breath. If hoarseness is accompanied by severe symptoms like difficulty breathing or swallowing, medical attention should be sought immediately.

Diagnosing the cause of hoarseness

Diagnosis typically begins with a physical examination and a review of medical history. Laryngoscopy, a procedure to view the vocal cords, can be instrumental in diagnosing the cause of hoarseness. Imaging tests and biopsies may be necessary if a mass or lesion is suspected.

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What are the treatments for hoarseness?

Treatment for hoarseness aims at addressing the underlying cause. Resting the voice can resolve hoarseness due to overuse. For acid reflux, dietary changes, and medications to reduce stomach acid can be effective. If caused by smoking or other irritants, cessation is crucial. Rest and hydration may suffice in cases of infection, but bacterial infections might require antibiotics.

When hoarseness is due to nodules or polyps, voice therapy is the first line of treatment. Surgical intervention may be considered if these measures are not successful. For more serious conditions, such as cancer, treatment may include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Our philosophy of care at Louisiana ENT

We pride ourselves on easy access to care, offering same-day appointments to address your concerns promptly. With a reputation for on-time service, we respect your time and strive to provide rapid, convenient care without the long waits often associated with specialist visits.

Our approach is rooted in evidence-based medicine, and our providers hold board certifications and advanced training in the latest ENT practices, including managing voice disorders. We're equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to accurately identify the cause of your hoarseness, ensuring that you receive the most effective treatment.

At Louisiana ENT, you're not just another patient; you're part of our family. We're committed to offering a warm, friendly environment where every encounter is geared toward improving your health and well-being. Our staff's ability to connect with patients and their passion for delivering exceptional care set us apart. When you choose Louisiana ENT, you're selecting a legacy of excellence and a community of specialists invested in your vocal health.

Hoarseness FAQs

When should you see a specialist?

If hoarseness persists beyond two weeks, especially without a clear cause, like a recent cold, it is important to see a doctor. Immediate medical attention is necessary if hoarseness is accompanied by troubling symptoms such as pain, coughing up blood, severe changes in voice, or difficulty breathing.

Why choose us?

At Louisiana ENT, we recognize your voice is essential to a comfortable daily life. Our dedicated team of ENT specialists is committed to providing personalized, compassionate care for your hoarseness, regardless of the cause. With over 45 years of service and a network of top-tier ENT physicians across Louisiana, we are equipped to deliver the highest standard of medical and surgical solutions for all voice-related issues. Choosing Louisiana ENT means opting for a patient-centered experience, where understanding and addressing your unique condition is our priority. We are not just clinicians; we are your neighbors, having served generations of Louisianians with a blend of professional expertise and local familiarity. Our physicians, many of whom were born and raised locally, are not just healthcare providers but also integral parts of the fabric of the Louisiana community.

Can hoarseness be a sign of cancer?

Persistent hoarseness can be a symptom of laryngeal cancer, especially if it lasts longer than two weeks. However, it's often caused by less serious conditions.

How can I take care of my voice?

Rest your voice when it's hoarse, avoid whispering, drink plenty of water, avoid irritants like smoke, and use a humidifier to keep the air moist.

Is hoarseness common in children?

Yes, children can experience hoarseness due to yelling, crying, or upper respiratory infections. If it persists, a pediatric ENT specialist should evaluate the child.

What should I do if I have persistent or severe hoarseness?

Hoarseness is a symptom that spans a spectrum of causes and should not be ignored, especially if it is persistent or severe. It serves as a reminder of the delicate nature of our vocal apparatus and the importance of vocal hygiene. With proper understanding, care, and, when necessary, medical intervention, most individuals can expect to regain their clear voice and continue to communicate effectively.

With 6 convenient locations around the Louisiana area, we're never far away.

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