Who doesn’t know what hoarseness is? Spending a few days with a rough, choppy voice or with a lower tone than normal does not have to be more than a simple passing problem.
Now, if two weeks have passed and it persists, it is possible that your aphonia conceals a more serious disorder and you should consult with a specialist, especially if you have just had a cold or the flu.
According to experts, this vocal condition affects up to 50% more women than men. This difference is due to the anatomical features of the female larynx that determine how the vocal cords vibrate.
Its form forces a greater mechanical demand just where vocal nodules usually develop, one of the most frequent lesions in people with dysphonia, which is what any disorder in the “voice quality” is called.
10 possible reasons for hoarseness
When your vocal cords become inflamed or infected, hoarseness may appear. Now, why does this happen? Normally, it is due to excessive or incorrect use of the voice, a cold, lack of hydration in the vocal cords or tobacco. Let’s look at this and some other causes that may not be as well known to you:
This is probably one of the most common reasons. It consists of temporary inflammation of the vocal cords as a result of a cold, an allergy or an infection of the upper respiratory tract. This lesion is usually mild, but it can be complicated.
It can also cause aphonia. This happens when stomach acids go up the throat and irritate the vocal cords. Although reflux does not cause pain, some people have a constant urge to cough, which usually ends in hoarseness.
3. Bleeding in the vocal cords
This may be another origin of aphonia. If you suddenly run out of voice right after a scream there may have been bleeding in the vocal cords. The usual thing is that immediately hoarseness of rapid evolution appears.
4. Vocal cord paralysis
It is identified as another possible cause of hoarseness. Although in many cases the reason why the vocal cords lose their mobility is unknown, some of the triggers are neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
It is a disease that can present various symptoms. Among them, weakness, cramps, tiredness, drowsiness and weight gain due to fluid retention. But it can also lead to dysphonia, hoarseness, persistent cough or pharyngitis.
6. The use of corticosteroid sprays for asthma
It accentuates dry vocal cords, promotes fungal proliferation in the larynx and can cause hoarseness. It is proven that people who make prolonged use of inhaled corticosteroids have a greater predisposition to the onset or worsening of voice disorders.
7. Stress and anxiety
They have consequences on multiple aspects of health. Among them, is our voice. Both disorders can affect the vocal cords, favoring the appearance of aphonia and other alterations of the voice as a result of the descent of defenses, at which time the “closure” is opened to a possible infection of the vocal cords.
8. Psychogenic dysphonia
Its peculiarity is that it is not associated with any anatomical or neurological lesion. The person who suffers from it may have depression, anxiety, difficulty relating to others or problems of self-esteem. Both speech therapists and psychologists and, if necessary, psychiatrists participate in the treatment.
9. Thyroid surgery
If you have undergone a thyroid removal operation (thyroidectomy), as soon as you detect a dysphonia go to the doctor to assess the type and extent of the injury and determine the appropriate treatment for each case.
10. Laryngeal cancer
It may be behind chronic dysphonia. A dysphonia or a change of voice without apparent cause and that extends beyond two weeks may be a warning of this disease. If this occurs, it is essential to consult a specialist as soon as possible.
Before receiving medical treatment…
You have numerous options at your fingertips to reduce discomfort. These are some of them:
- Rest your voice, especially if you have a cold. Try to talk the least and avoid places that force you to raise your voice, such as bustling restaurants.
- Shun smoke-filled environments. Neither do dry or very cold spaces suit you.
- Hydrate frequently. The vocal cords must be clean and hydrated. To remove all impurities gargle with warm water and salt, and to maintain moisture, drink two liters of water.
- Avoid very cold or very hot drinks, as sudden temperature changes irritate the vocal cords.
- Follow eating habits that help prevent gastric reflux. Remember that stomach acids can be one of the origins of hoarseness. To do this, limit the fried foods and try to include in your diet foods high in vitamins A, E and C, such as tomatoes, broccoli, carrots or spinach.
- Relax the area by performing some simple stretches, such as turning the neck very slowly drawing a complete circle.
Train the voice
Learning to use the vocal cords correctly helps avoid voice disturbances:
- Position yourself well. A posture is considered correct if you keep it breathing effortlessly.
- Breathe better. The most appropriate technique is diaphragmatic, deep, nasal, slow and rhythmic.
- Relax more. You can give yourself a massage following the previous guidelines given by a specialist.