Hoarseness Specialist

Beach Cities ENTS

Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists located in Torrance, CA

Hoarseness can cause significant distress, and get in the way of even your most basic everyday functions, because we use our voice as our primary form of communication. At Beach Cities ENTS, in Torrance, California, the board-certified team of ear, nose, and throat specialists can determine the cause of your hoarseness and offer customized treatments to restore your voice and help you get back to living your life without your voice holding you back. Call Beach Cities ENTS or make an appointment online today at the South Bay area office for expert vocal care.

Hoarseness Q & A

Why is my voice hoarse?

Hoarseness is a general term that describes abnormal voice changes. When hoarse, the voice may sound breathy, raspy, strained, weak, or there may be changes in volume (loudness) or pitch (how high or low the voice is). Hoarseness can have many different causes. 

Frequently, a cold, other upper respiratory infection, smoking, or allergies cause hoarseness. Another common cause of hoarseness is overusing or misusing your voice, such as cheering loudly at a sporting event or concert. Many professions, such as teachers, performers, or public speakers, also require very heavy use of their voice, and are at risk for hoarseness from voice overuse or misuse.

However, other issues can also cause hoarseness, including:

  • Vocal cord nodules or cysts
  • Vocal cord paralysis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Trauma to your larynx
  • Larynx cancer
  • Spasmodic dysphonia
  • Age-related changes to the vocal cords and voice box (larynx)

The team at Beach Cities ENTS offers expert diagnosis to identify the cause of your hoarseness. 

Additionally, if you’re a professional singer, actor, or rely on your voice in another profession, Beach Cities ENTS specializes in treating patients who use their voice professionally. The team can help you protect your voice and recover from hoarseness and other voice problems.

When should I talk to a doctor about hoarseness?

You should make an appointment at Beach Cities ENTS if your hoarseness is interfering with your ability to perform any necessary functions, or if your voice is hoarse for 10 days or more, even if you are not bothered by your voice.

Your doctor will perform a comprehensive voice evaluation, including a detailed history and complete ear, nose, throat, and head and neck examination. Associated medical conditions that can affect the voice, such as allergies, sinus problems, and acid reflux are also evaluated and treated if necessary. 

As part of your hoarseness evaluation, Beach Cities ENTS also offers state-of-the-art high-definition video stroboscopy to examine your vocal cords in extreme detail. This is a highly specialized procedure that is not performed by most ENT doctors, but is critically important for helping to identify subtle abnormalities of the vocal cords that aren’t usually detectable by standard examinations. To learn more about video stroboscopy, click on the link below to see how the doctors at Beach Cities ENTS use video stroboscopy to provide top level care to help you resolve your voice problem.

How is hoarseness treated?

The expert team at Beach Cities ENTS offers highly customized treatment plans for hoarseness, which is so important because of the many different causes of this condition. Some of the available treatments include:

Voice therapy and vocal cord care

Many causes of hoarseness can get better simply by identifying and improving an underlying behavior that causes chronic vocal injuries. This can sometimes be easy, but in some cases may require referral to a voice therapist for vocal exercises and teaching of improved voice technique. Treatment of related issues such as allergies, sinus problems, acid reflux, and chronic cough or asthma can also help your hoarseness problem go away.  Occasionally, medications such as acid blockers or a short course of steroids may be recommended. 

Vocal cord filler, injections, or implants

If your hoarseness is due to vocal cord paralysis or weakening, or age-related changes or muscle atrophy, your Beach Cities ENTS surgeon may recommend injection of a filling agent into your vocal cords. In some cases, an implant can be surgically inserted into the vocal cord to help restore the voice. 

If you have spasmodic dysphonia, Botox® injections can reduce the muscle spasm, and result in significant improvement of your voice. 

Vocal cord surgery

If you have nodules or polyps on your vocal cords or larynx, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the growths. Vocal cord surgery is usually an outpatient procedure which takes no more than an hour. There is minimal discomfort after surgery, but recovery usually involves a period of vocal rest. Your Beach Cities ENTS provider will review in detail your instructions for how to care for your voice after vocal cord surgery. 

Laryngeal reinnervation

Laryngeal reinnervation is a highly specialized surgical procedure that can help restore the voice in certain cases of hoarseness caused by vocal cord paralysis. Reinnervation is performed by reattaching a severed nerve to allow for it to regrow, or in the case that the nerve can’t be attached to itself, by using a donor nerve to create a new nerve supply for the vocal cord. Dr. Rafii is the only surgeon in the South Bay area who performs laryngeal reinnervation. 

Call Beach Cities ENTS or make an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and treatment for hoarseness. 

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