What is hoarseness

Hoarseness is a disorder of the voice. Most people have been hoarse at some point. But what exactly is hoarseness and how is it caused? And then some advice that you can follow if you are hoarse.

The normal voice

Exhaling causes the vocal cords in the larynx to vibrate. By using your mouth at that moment, sound comes out of your mouth. No two voices are equal.


Hoarseness is a voice disorder. The voice sounds rough and is different in pitch. Hoarseness can be caused by a problem with the vocal cords. For example, they may have difficulty moving as a result of paralysis of one or both vocal cords. Paralysis can be the result of inflammation and, in rare cases, a cerebral infarction or a tumor.
Another problem with hoarseness can also be swelling on the vocal cords. These are usually polyps. Polyps usually occur due to incorrect use of the voice. It can also occur with an inflammation in the larynx .

Other causes

There are of course many other causes that can cause hoarseness. These are:

  • Irritation of the vocal cords due to incorrect use of the voice
  • use of alcohol or tobacco
  • inflammation of the airway, throat, nose or sinuses
  • polyps, these are benign
  • stress
  • an abnormality of the thyroid gland
  • injury in throat or larynx
  • old age
  • weakness of the nerve control
  • a malignant tumor, this is rare, and when it does occur it is often in older people.



Hoarseness is usually caused by incorrect use of the voice, a viral infection or by smoking and not by anything serious. It is often a harmless condition that usually goes away on its own within three weeks. If hoarseness still persists after three weeks, it is wise to see a doctor. He will try to find out the cause based on a number of questions and research. If necessary, a referral will be made to an ENT doctor.


  • do not smoke
  • do not consume alcohol
  • try to save your voice. Don’t whisper either, you also use your voice
  • If you have a respiratory infection: drink well, this way you build up resistance and your vocal cords can recover.
  • If it takes longer than three weeks, it is better to make an appointment with your doctor
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