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