What is Hoarseness of Voice? - Causes, Symptoms,and Treatment

ENT Hospital in Malleshwaram Bangalore

What is hoarseness of voice?

Hoarseness or change in voice is a common phenomenon that may occur due to many reasons including the common cold or shouting at a high pitch voice. The problem of hoarse voice usually does not persist for more than a week and goes away with self-care and rest. However, if the changes in voice continue to remain hoarse for more than a week, it is no longer a temporary concern, but must be investigated and treated immediately. 

Due to hoarseness in voice, it might sound strained and breathy, while your throat will feel scratchy. It is often a symptom of problems developing in the vocal folds in the larynx. 

Causes of Hoarseness of voice

Hoarseness or change in voice can occur due to several reasons including speaking too loudly or too much, a sinus infection, laryngitis (temporary swelling of vocal folds due to allergies or infection), GERD or heartburn, haemorrhage and neurological disorders, amongst many others. They can also change due to benign or non-cancerous growths in the vocal folds that create pressure or cause friction. 

Vocal cord lesions are of different types, including:  

  • Vocal nodules: Also known as singer’s nodules, vocal cord nodules occur due to repetitive misuse of voice or chronic cough and are found in the middle portion of the vocal folds. They are similar to calluses as visualised under the microscope and are commonly seen in women between 20-50 years old.

  • Vocal Polyp: These are different from the nodules and can occur on both or one of the vocal cords. They appear reddish, have more blood vessels than the nodules and can be of varied sizes and shapes. They usually resemble blisters and are larger than nodules. They are also caused due to overuse or abuse of voice like shouting or yelling, causing trauma to the vocal cords. 

Reinke’s Oedema: Swelling of the non-muscular part of the vocal cord or Reinke’s space is referred to as Reinke’s Oedema. This is a collection of fluid in the layers of the vocal cords and can happen due to chronic smoking, reflux oesophagitis, or overuse of voice. This type of condition does not go away on its own and the irritation continues to linger around. Due to Reinke’s Oedema, their voice may change into a deep, low and raspy tone. Reinke’s Oedema Therapy is also done at Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram. 

Carcinoma (cancer) of the vocal cords: The process of vocal cord cancer starts with the development of abnormal cells as pre-cancerous lesions to forming larger and thicker lesions. This type of cancer mostly occurs due to chronic smoking, leading to hoarseness in the voice. This can result in a serious problem if not diagnosed in its early stages and lesions are surgically removed to prevent the further spread of cancer. 

Diagnosing Hoarseness of voice

Hoarseness of voice leading to coughing up blood or difficulty in swallowing, feeling any lump in the neck, difficulty in breathing or losing your voice entirely must not be ignored. Consult the best hoarseness doctors available at Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram, who will first check your symptoms and overall health history. The doctor will then follow it up with a proper diagnosis using a 70-degree endoscope (a telescope used to look into the larynx) in order to check the vocal folds clearly. This is an outpatient diagnostic procedure that is performed after spraying local anaesthesia to the throat. The clear images visualised on the screen helps in understanding the nature of the problem and determining the treatment plan. 


If the cause of hoarseness is benign lesions like vocal nodules, vocal polyp or Reinke’s Oedema, the first line of treatment includes medication including: 

  • One short course of antibiotics

  • Steroids for two weeks

  • Anti-inflammatory agents such as Trypsin, Bromolin, etc. 

  • Adequately resting of voice

  • Steam inhalation

However, if the problem continues to persist and does not reduce after taking medication, Micro laryngeal surgery is advised. At Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram, we perform vocal cord nodules surgery and vocal cord polyp surgery in its state-of-the-art clinical infrastructure equipped with advanced technologies. 

Micro laryngeal surgery is a type of minimally invasive procedure that is performed to remove or do a biopsy of any abnormal growth in the larynx. This surgery helps in correcting voice disorders and ensures faster recovery with superior outcomes in comparison to the traditional method of laryngeal surgery. 

Micro laryngeal surgery is performed using a direct laryngoscope which is inserted through the mouth up to the vocal cords to see the vocal cords with the help of a microscope with precision. There are no incisions or sutures involved in this type of procedure. Once the lesion is found,  WE remove it using micro instruments with long handles. This technique of surgical procedure allows the surgeons to operate with accuracy, thus enabling them to remove only the damaged tissue without harming the surrounding areas. 

Patients, post-surgery, are monitored carefully and are advised to rest their voices for at least a week and use steam inhalation to let the area heal. They are also advised pain medications to respond to the discomfort that they may experience alongside acid reflux medications to stop stomach acid not to irritate the healing tissue. Voice therapy is also recommended as part of the post-surgery care plan. 

Since it is a daycare procedure performed using general anaesthesia, the patient is discharged on the same day after assessing his condition.

Manipal Hospital is one of the best ENT hospitals in Malleshwaram Bangalore that aims to provide high-quality medical care and treatment for the entire range of ear, nose and throat problems.

If you are looking for the best ENT Specialist in Malleshwaram Bangalore then book an appointment with Manipal Hospital now!


If the lesion on the vocal cord is suspected to be cancerous in nature, in place of trying other treatment methods, the patient is directly taken up for Microlaryngeal Surgery to surgically remove the lesion with minimal blood loss and scarring and sent for biopsy. Post confirmation from the positive results of biopsy, Radiation therapy is recommended. Otherwise, removal of the lesion is considered sufficient to cure the problem. 

The advantages of excision of the lesion after an early diagnosis are: 

  • Laryngeal cartilage is relatively more resistant to tumour invasion

  • The vocal cord area has relatively low lymphatic drainage due to which cancer cannot spread fast

If you are looking for the best ENT specialist near you for voice disorder treatment in Malleshwaram Bangalore then visit Manipal Hospital in Malleshwaram, Bangalore.


Dr. Jayanthi T V

Consultant – ENT

Manipal Hospitals, Malleshwaram, Bangalore

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