Jefferson University Hospitals

Hoarseness

If your voice is sounding abnormally deep and raspy, you're probably experiencing hoarseness, an irritation of (or injury to) the vocal cords. The most common cause of hoarseness is acute laryngitis due to an upper respiratory tract infection; other causes are:

  • GERD
  • Allergies
  • Benign vocal cord nodules or polyps
  • Smoking
  • Neurological conditions
  • Trauma to the larynx/vocal cords
  • Cancer of the larynx

A Jefferson physician will give you a physical exam and may visualize your vocal cords using a fiberoptic scope to identify the cause of your hoarseness.

When Your Hoarseness Lasts Longer than Two Weeks

If your hoarseness has lasted longer than two to three weeks, you should have a consultation with a Jefferson otolaryngologist. Our otolaryngologists will assess your condition and recommend an effective treatment, which may include cough suppressants, voice rest, antibiotics or smoking cessation. In some cases, surgery may be necessary if the cause of hoarseness is benign nodules or polyps, trauma to the larynx/vocal cords and/or cancer of the larynx.