What is hoarseness?
Hoarseness is a general term that describes abnormal voice changes. Those who use their voices a great deal, or have to speak loudly most of the time, often” suffer from hoarseness. When hoarse, the voice may sound breathy, raspy, strained, or there may be changes in volume (loudness) or pitch (how high or low the voice is). The changes in sound are usually due to disorders related to the vocal folds which are the sound producing parts of the voice box (larynx). While breathing, the vocal folds remain apart. When speaking or singing, they come together, and as air leaves the lungs, they vibrate, producing sound. The more tightly the vocal folds are held and the smaller the vocal folds, the more rapidly they vibrate. More rapid vibration makes a higher voice pitch. Swelling or lumps on the vocal folds prevent them from coming together properly, which makes a change in the voice.
What are the causes of hoarseness?
Any infection of the throat, especially in the area of the larynx (voice box), will cause hoarseness, if there is any external swelling in the region of the throat, with no complaints suggestive of throat infection, it must be immediately investigated. Often, in the case of a benign or malignant growth in the thyroid glands (these are situated in front of the voice box), there may be some pressure being exerted on the nerve supplying the muscles of the larynx. This results in hoarseness, which must never be taken lightly or neglected. Some of common causes are :
- Gastroesophageal reflux.
- Thyroid problems.
- Allergies in throat.
What are the symptoms?
Some of common symptoms of hoarseness includes :
- Pain in throat.
- Harsh sound to the voice.
- Rough voice.
- Total loss of voice.
Natural home remedies for the treatment of hoarseness.
- Take a white turnip. Slice it in circles horizontally and apply honey to the circles. Now sandwich them together. Hold firmly, arid slice longitudinally, apply honey again, and then tie them together with a clean, washed threadnot too tight, just tightly enough to hold the pieces together. Pour some more honey over them. Leave for 12-14 hours. The turnip-honey syrup will collect at the bottom of the cup. A teaspoon of this, taken thrice a day with warm water, gives remarkable relief. Even gargling with water in which turnips have been boiled is efficacious.
- Alternatively, a teaspoonful of onion juice, mixed with a teaspoonful of honey, is equally beneficial.
- Gargle with an infusion of a teaspoon each of powdered cinnamon and cardamom, mixed with a glassful of water.
- For relief from a chronic throat irritation, soak 2-3 dried figs and 2-3 almonds in a cup of warm water for 2-3 hours. The outer skin of the almonds softens. Remove it. Grind the almonds and figs to a fine paste. Add a teaspoon of honey to it, and drink it with a cup of warm water at bedtime. It is delicious with hot milk, but perhaps a little fattening for people who need to watch their weight.
- Gargle with an infusion of fennel-a teaspoon to a glass of water .
- Take equal quantities of liquorices and lump sugar. Grind them together and bottle the mixture. Take one-fourth to half a teaspoon at a time. Keep in the mouth, let the saliva mix with it, and swallow it slowly, a little at a time. It soothes the throat and is excellent for hoarseness of the voice. If one does not dislike the pungency of black pepper, an equal amount of it can be added. However, some find it too pungent and an irritant, instead of soothing.
What are the prevention?
Some of the common prevention tips for hoarseness includes:
- Quit smoking.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Don’t speak too long and loudly.
- Seek professional voice training.
- Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is injured or hoarse.
- Avoid drinks which have alcohol and caffeine.