Hoarse Voice

Throat | Otorhinolaryngology | Hoarse Voice (Symptom)


Hoarse voice is an abnormal change in your voice caused by disorders in the vocal cords of the voice box, or larynx. The vocal cords are normally open but make sounds by coming together when you speak, sing or hum. As air leaves the lungs, it makes the closed folds vibrate, producing the sound of your voice. When your voice is hoarse, it is an indication that these vibrations of the vocal folds are being hindered by mucus, swellings, obstructions or other changes in the surface of the larynx.

While any change in the quality of your voice can be referred to as hoarse voice, the features of your voice most frequently affected are either voice quality (producing a raspy, strained or gravelly sound), volume (weak or soft, breathy, croaking, fading or loud), pitch of your voice (higher or lower, depending on the cause), or some combination of these features.


Hoarse voice can be caused by colds, flu, allergies, talking or shouting for long periods of time, tobacco or marijuana use, other causes of inflammation, and, in some cases, growths in the throat (cysts, nodules, polyps or even tumors). In addition, reflux disorders (flow of stomach acids and digestive enzymes up into the throat) can cause burns that may make you hoarse. Less common causes include neurologic disorders, thyroid or hormonal disorders, and laryngeal cancer.


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