Hoarseness also commonly referred to as dysphonia is defined as a change in the quality of your voice that effects both adult and pediatric patients. Hoarseness can be described based on the characteristics of the voice which include raspy, breathy, strained, or a combination of these characteristics. Patients with hoarseness may experience vocal fatigue, reduction in the volume of their voice, reduced pitch range, variability in the quality of their voice, discomfort when using their voice, and feeling the need to strain when trying to use their voice.
Overuse of the voice can sometimes result in prolonged hoarseness secondary to vocal cord nodules and these are known as singers or screamer's nodules. Other causes of prolonged hoarseness may be secondary to inhaling toxic substances, smoking, acid reflux, paralysis of a vocal cord, and other types of growths on the vocal cords. If you have hoarseness lasting more than 3 weeks, you should see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.