There are lots of causes of a hoarse voice. It happens because the vocal cords have changed in some way. People often worry that they may have a cancer of the voice box but this is not the most common cause. However, If you are or have ever been a smoker then it is a good idea to consult your doctor.
The most common cause is simple inflammation caused by a respiratory tract infection and this is called “laryngitis”. In addition a bad cough caused by a chest infection can cause the vocal cords to become inflamed as well because coughing causes them to collide and become swollen.
Reflux of gastric contents can also cause throat symptoms. This can happen without typical indigestion and we call this “silent reflux”. Symptoms can include a hoarse voice.
People who use their voice a lot, such as teachers, singers and sports coaches can have voice problems.
Whatever the cause, it is straightforward to diagnose.
Consultants use a small fibreoptic telescope in the clinic, which passes through your nose and looks at your voice box. It only takes about 30 seconds to perform and is not painful.