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Hoarseness… Is It Sexy?

Have you ever experienced hoarseness? Do you feel the hoarseness is sexy? Did you know that hoarseness can be an indication about the health of your vocal cords?

Most of us have experienced hoarseness at least once in a lifetime. However, most people feel hoarseness is not a serious health problem. Hoarseness usually happens when we are experiencing a prolonged cough. If hoarseness lasts more than two weeks, is it a regular thing? In some cases, hoarseness indicates something serious had happened to the vocal cords.

Vocal Cords: What is it?

  • Organ located in the larynx that produces sound.
  • Made up of cartilage and a thin muscle that moves and vibrates to produce sound.
  • Vocal cords are easily injured or damaged in case of vocal abuse.

Vocal Cords Assessment:

Rigid laryngoscopy
Flexible Laryngoscopy
This assessment measures the rate of vocal folds vibrations.
This assessment provides the detail of the voice box, but the change words patient to clients is unable to speak or sing during the exam.
This assessment helps to view the voice box in action (i.e., while the patient is producing sound) since the flexible scope passes through patient’s nose to the throat.

Vocal Cords Problems



Inflammation of the voice box (larynx). It is usually caused by infection, irritation or overuse



Fluid-filled swelling or bump (like a nodule), a stalk-like growth, or a blister-like lesion, on the edge of vocal folds.


Reinke’s Edema

Swelling of Reinke’s space that involves the entire length of one or both vocal folds


Vocal papillomas

Growths on the vocal cords, caused by human papilloma virus (HPV)


Vocal Fold Nodules

Benign growths, usually on both vocal cords that are caused by voice abuse.

Please consult your doctor if you noticed any of the following symptoms:

  • Prolong hoarseness of voice, usually more than 2 weeks
  • Loss of voice or aphonia
  • Hoarseness with pain.
  • Hoarseness with swelling sensation in the throat
  • Hoarseness with chronic coughs
  • Hoarseness with difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness with difficulty swallowing

Tips for Good Vocal hygiene.

  • Drink plenty of water

    Enough water intakes will help avoid dehydration of the vocal cords. This will help reduce the impact during vocal cords vibrations and reduce the risk of vocal cords injury. Experts suggest taking 7 to 8 glasses of water a day.

  • Reduce or avoid foods/ drinks/ products that cause irritation.

    Some of the foods or products are not good for vocal cords such as:

    • Dairy products
      • Dairy products can cause sputum production. This can interfere with the clarity of sound produced.
      • Avoid dairy products such as milk, ice cream, cheese.
    • Spicy foods
      • Spicy foods can cause irritation to the throat and vocal cords, especially if reflux is a concern.
    • Caffeine products
      • Caffeine products can cause dehydration of the vocal cords.
  • Avoid excessive throat clearing

    Excessive throat clearing can cause irritation or injury to the vocal cords. Drinking a lot of water is important.

  • Avoid shouting

    Shouting will cause vocal cords to vibrate with force and tension. This increases the risk of vocal cords injury.

  • Avoid talking in noisy environment

    We tend to speak louder or shout when we talk in noisy environment. This will lead to vocal abuse and can cause injury to the vocal cords.

  • Avoid excessive talking

    Stop talking when throat begin to feel irritate or tired. It is a sign that vocal cord has been used to the maximum. Excessive talking or vocal abuse can cause vocal cords injury.


  1. Hill, D. (2011). Foods That Are Unhealthy for Your Vocal Cords. Retrieved July 4, 2013 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/539272-foods-that-are-unhealthy-for-your-vocal-cords/
  2. Jensen, K.M. (2011). Types of Voice Disorders. Retrieved July 4, 2013 from http://www.practicalslpinfo.com/types-of-voice-disorders.htm

Picture Source

  1. BestPractise (2012). Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/monograph/1090/resources/image/bp/3.html
  2. Dunedin (2008). New Tool to Treat Vocal Problems. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/3899/new-tool-treat-vocal-problems
  3. Examination Tehnique – Detail. Retrieved July 4, 2013, from http://www.dysphonia.certec.lth.se/examtech_detail_uk.lasso@ID=10007.html
  4. Sulica, M. (2009). Nodules. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from http://www.voicemedicine.com/nodules.htm
  5. Verma, S.P. (2011). Laryngitis Sisca. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from http://www.throatdisorder.com/voice-disorders/laryngitis-sicca
  6. Verma, S.P. (2011). Polyp. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from http://www.throatdisorder.com/voice-disorders/polyp
  7. Verma, S.P. (2011). Reinke’s Edema. Retrieved July 5, 2013, from http://www.throatdisorder.com/voice-disorders/reinke%E2%80%99s-edema
  8. Verma, S.P. (2011). Papilloma. Retrieved July 5, 2013, http://www.throatdisorder.com/voice-disorders/papilloma
  9. www.drpaulose.com, from http://drpaulose.com/ear/ent-pediatric-children/fibre-optic-laryngoscopy-in-ent-clinic


Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer : Nurhayati bt Mohd Mossadeq
Translator : Rozila binti Sumardi
Accreditor / Reviewer : Nadwah bt. Onwi