Hoarseness Specialist

Bayou ENT

Otolaryngologists located in New Iberia, LA

When hoarseness doesn’t improve, or it frequently returns, don’t wait to have it treated. If you keep using your voice when it’s already strained, you increase your risk of problems like vocal nodules. At Bayou ENT, Chris Gaffga, MD, and Jamie Guillot, APRN, have years of experience identifying the cause of hoarseness and creating a customized treatment that restores your normal voice. Call the office in New Iberia, Louisiana, or make an appointment online today to get exceptional care for hoarseness.

Hoarseness Q & A

What is hoarseness?

Hoarseness, also called dysphonia, refers to changes in the quality of your voice. When you speak, your voice may sound:

  • Strained
  • Raspy
  • Breathy
  • Weak
  • Tired
  • Soft
  • Higher or lower in pitch

Hoarseness is a sign that you have voice problems or, more precisely, that something is wrong with your vocal cords.

What causes hoarseness?

Many people develop temporary hoarseness when allergies or an upper respiratory infection affect their throat. Speaking too loudly or in an unusually high or low pitch also leads to a hoarse voice.

Overusing your voice, also called vocal abuse, causes hoarseness by straining your vocal cords. This common problem often occurs when you yell during a sporting event, sing in a concert, talk too much, or frequently clear your throat.

Other causes of hoarseness include:

  • Laryngitis
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Vocal cord nodules, polyps, and cysts
  • Vocal cord paralysis
  • Trauma to your voice box (larynx)
  • Neurological disorders
  • Larynx cancer
  • Spasmodic dysphonia

Spasmodic dysphonia is a voice disorder that occurs when the muscles in your voice box spasm.

When should I see an ENT specialist for hoarseness?

You should schedule an examination at Bayou ENT when your hoarseness lasts three weeks or longer, you lose your voice for more than a few days, or when you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain when speaking
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Lump in your neck

If you’re a vocal professional, you should get a prompt evaluation for hoarseness.

How is hoarseness treated?

Bayou ENT examines your voice box and vocal cords to diagnose the reason for your hoarseness. They may use a slender tube equipped with lighting and a camera to visualize your vocal cords and run specialized tests that evaluate sound, airflow, and other qualities.

The treatment you receive depends on the cause of your hoarseness. Laryngitis and voice overuse generally improve when you rest your voice and hydrate your throat. Vocal cord nodules often respond well to voice therapy, while Bayou ENT surgically removes polyps and cysts.

Many people with hoarseness, especially those who rely on their voice for their profession, benefit from voice therapy. Voice therapy helps you prevent vocal cord strain by teaching you ways to change pitch and volume when talking.

When hoarseness doesn’t improve, don’t wait to get help. Call Bayou ENT or book a consultation online today.