Take Care of Your Voice: Why You Sound Hoarse and What to Do About It?

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Take Care of Your Voice: Why You Sound Hoarse and What to Do About It?

If some people have a hard time determining what gender you are after an initial phone call, part of the problem may be that you may be developing a voice change. While not really an object of much concern, especially if you are nursing a cold, it could mean an indication of an existing problem or impending trouble up ahead.

After age 65, three out of ten people have speaking difficulties that classify as a voice disorder. Unless there’s a presence of some disease or illness, voice disorders many times begin at retirement, at menopause, or even at a younger age due to constant talking or speaking loud above a noisy background.

Some Facts About Hoarseness

According to some health practitioners, any variant changes in the voice classify as hoarseness. In such a state, the voice projected many times sounds raspy, strained and has changes in the volume or the pitch. Sometimes, there is an indicated shortness of breath as well.

When breathing, vocal folds typically remain apart. If a person speaks or sings, then the vocal cords come together and vibrate as the lungs expels the air that produces sound. However, if there is a swelling or obstruction on the vocal folds, as in a possible presence of polyps, the vibration becomes hindered and produces a different voice quality, volume or pitch.

Some Possible Causes

While the most common cause of hoarseness is acute laryngitis, or an irritation or injury to the vocal cords, this condition should best be monitored and diagnosed by a health care professional.

Other common causes may stem from:

Benign nodules, cysts or polyps
Neurological conditions such as Parkinson disease or having undergone a stroke
Throat cancer
Some allergies
Smoking
Inhalation of chemicals or other tract irritants
Thyroid problems
Trauma to the larynx or vocal cords
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

Available Therapies and Treatments Available

Depending on any of the above underlying causes, an professional evaluation should be given by an otolaryngologist or family physician. Sometimes, the first to both see and notice a difference in the throat area may even be the family dentist.

Based on the person’s medical history and ensuing physical exam, this evaluation is best handled by a team of professionals that understand how the voice and throat functions. The team can be made up of otolaryngologists and speech/language pathologists. However, sometimes singing teachers or acting coaches can detect a voice change before others do.

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If caused by a cold or flu, the hoarseness is best evaluated by the family physician, pediatrician or an internist who follows up with a complete ear, nose and throat exam is given–or even a laryngoscopy.

Depending on the exam’s outcome, a combination of microsurgery and voice therapy may follow as a chosen protocol of treatment. Voice therapy should be given only after a complete diagnosis as to not delay the treatment of a possible disease.

However, other possible therapies prescribed are voice strengthening techniques or even singing through a straw exercises. One of the first things recommended, however, is resting the voice. All patients are typically advised to stop smoking or even being anywhere near second-hand smoke–and to drink plenty of fluids.

Some Natural Remedies

From Chinese medicine to the Ayurvedic, it’s amazing at the many diversified cultures that include the following three basic ingredients to combat sore throats, laryngitis or simple hoarseness:

1- 1 cup warm salt water.
2- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
3- 1 teaspoon raw honey.

Once the blend is mixed, what follows are deep-throat gargles and rinses–several times a day, until the soreness or symptoms disappear. If the symptoms have not left after the first two gargles, further consideration is merited, and another course of action is dictated.

Another remedy, with a doctor’s approval, is taking 2 ibuprofen for a total of 400 milligrams every six hours. Then, drink 12 ounces of water every hour.

Pour boiling water in a bowl and put a towel over your head, and breathe in steam through both the nose and the mouth alternatively for ten minutes. If you add 2 tablespoons of Vicks Chest Rub into the hot water, it is even better.

Lastly, follow this treatment with a honey and lemon chamomile tea mix as chamomile is one great anti-inflammatory.

Have you taken note of any voice changes or hoarseness when you speak? If so, what have you done about it?

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