Consultant ENT, Head and Neck and Thyroid Surgeon

Voice problems

Patients suffering from a voice problem may encounter issues with the voice such as:

inaudibility, unclear and unstable
inappropriate for the age or gender of the patient
tires easily
incapable of communication
associated with discomfort or pain
Voice disorders are often multifactorial in origin and often patients create their own compensation methods which can aggravate the problem.

Hoarseness can be one diagnosis but there can be several other alternative causes:

dysphonia - leading to impairment of the voice and difficulty speaking
dysarthria - difficulty forming words caused by a problem with the muscles involved in speech
dysphasia - difficulty understanding language or expression of language through speech (often caused by brain injury)
Symptoms of a disordered voice may need further investigations by throat specialists and/or speech therapists are:

Hoarseness that lasts longer than three weeks. Typical laryngitis normally lasts around 1-2 weeks with significant voice problems only lasting a week
Complete loss or severe change in voice lasting more than a week
Hoarseness that is associated with pain
Hoarseness associated with a lump in the throat. These symptoms are often associated with acid reflux but can suggest a growth in the throat
Hoarseness associated with a chronic cough or coughing up blood
Hoarseness associated with breathing difficulty. While any issues with breathing can be serious, hoarseness associated with breathing difficulties may indicate a narrowing of the airway
If further treatment is required after investigation into symptoms then it will usually consist of one of the following:

Vocal hygiene, lifestyle and dietary advice
Voice therapy
Singing therapy
Medical treatment
Surgical treatment