Hoarseness is also known as hoarse voice.
Hoarseness of voice is extremely common; and it's actually a symptom of some of the other disease rather than a disease in itself. A hoarse voice typically sounds raspy, breathy or even strained and is characterized by a change in the pitch or volume when the person speaks. Hoarseness is generally caused by disorders that affect the vocal folds, which are basically that part of the voice box or larynx that produce sound. Common conditions that can cause hoarseness include a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, common cold, voice abuse, smoking, gastroesophageal reflux, allergies, trauma to the voice box, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems and neurological disorders. The diagnosis of hoarseness is carried out by examining the voice box of the affected individual with the help of a laryngoscope. In certain cases, X-rays and other lab tests may also be performed. There's no fixed treatment for hoarseness as it is dependent upon what caused it in the first place. However, all the methods of the treatment employed ensure success so patients have nothing to worry about. Hoarseness can also be prevented by drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and smoking.
As mentioned before the treatment of hoarseness is entirely dependent on the cause. So for example, if the hoarseness is the result of cold, cough drops and syrups can be used to fix it. In other cases, where hoarseness is caused by smoking for example, quitting smoking helps in treating this symptom. Medical experts also recommend resting the voice as much as possible as treatment option. Where resting is not possible, modification of the voice is suggested. Patients may also be advised to stay away from second-hand smoke in order to treat themselves as well as drink plenty of fluids. Only in the worst cases, where the voice box develops polyps or nodules, is when surgery is recommended. The surgery that is carried out is known as vocal cord surgery. In this surgery, general anesthesia is administered to the patient. The surgery is carried out with the help of a microscope and micro-instruments, which are inserted through the patient's mouth. The surgery is then either performed with the help of a laryngoscope or a lasers.
Anyone who suffers from a hoarse voice is eligible for treatment methods such as behavioral and dietary modifications as well as medication. Surgery is only reserved for severe cases.
For those whom hoarseness is caused by cancer of the larynx, they may not be eligible to the treatment options mentioned here.
One can expect zero side effects from the behavioral and dietary modifications adopted as treatments for hoarseness. Surgery, however, has some side effects, which are bruising of the lips, soft palate or the tongue, vocal cord bruising, infections and tooth chipping.
After recovering from hoarseness, patients are suggested to stay away from alcohol, coffee and cigarettes as well as drink plenty of water. Post-surgery, patients are asked to rest their voice completely for 48 hours. Whispering is not allowed either. Patients are also asked to take some time off from work and not drive at least till 48 hours after the surgery. Moreover, they may have to take painkillers every few hours to reduce the pain.
For non-surgical treatment methods of hoarseness, recovery is instant. In the case of surgery, it takes about 2 weeks to recover completely.
Cough drops are sold for Re 1 per piece and cough syrup can cost around Rs 60. The surgery can cost around Rs 60,000.
The results of non-surgical are permanent as long as patients do not resume smoking or alcohol or strain their voices excessively again. Surgery offers permanent results.