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Hoarseness

What is Hoarseness?

Hoarseness is a general term which describes abnormal voice changes. When hoarse, the voice may weak, scratchy, raspy, strained, or there may be changes in volume or pitch.

Hoarseness is also called voice strain, dysphonia, and loss of voice.

What causes Hoarseness?

There are many causes of hoarseness. Most of the causes are not serious and will go away in a short period of time. The most common causes are:

Emergency Symptoms

If you experience the following symptoms, you should seek medical help immediately.

If hoarseness is associated with:

  • Pain not from a cold or flu
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A lump in the neck
  • Complete loss or severe change in voice lasting longer than a few days

How is hoarseness treated?

Treatment will depend on the cause of hoarseness. If hoarseness lasts longer than two weeks or has no obvious cause, it should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist. An otolaryngologist is a doctor who specializes in ear, nose and throat conditions.

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