Dysphonia: Causes of Chronic Hoarse Voice

Sore,Throat.,Dark haired,Young,Man,Having,A,Sore,ThroatA hoarse, scratchy voice is one of the most common signs of an illness like laryngitis. For others, however, the cause of their hoarseness is harder to identify. In medical terms, a hoarse voice is known as dysphonia, and there are multiple underlying causes that one of our medical professionals can diagnose. By seeing a doctor for your symptoms, you can get treatment and find relief.


Any condition that irritates the throat and causes inflammation could cause dysphonia. Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a common condition that causes the stomach contents to pass back into the throat and possibly even reach the nasal cavity. The effects of laryngopharyngeal reflux can lead to vocal cord damage as well as harm the glottis, the opening between the vocal cords and throat (larynx).

Illness or Infection

Some viral infections, like the cold, can cause temporary vocal changes. These are typically characterized by hoarseness or weakness. Laryngitis, or swollen vocal cords, can also occur as a result of illness or infection.

It is important to note whether your voice change is connected to other symptoms, such as a fever, sweats, chills, upset stomach, etc.. If so, then you should see a doctor to be diagnosed.

In some cases, chronic laryngitis can be managed with lifestyle changes or through medications to address underlying causes.


Vocal cord polyps, cysts, or papillomas may cause dysphonia that persists without proper treatment. Here is a quick differentiation between the three:

  • Polyps are noncancerous (benign) bumps that can form from overuse; many cases resolve on their own.
  • Cysts are also benign, but they do not typically form from overuse. Instead, they may just occur on their own and need to be removed. Various treatment options are available, such as lasering and non-invasive surgery.
  • Papillomas form as a result of exposure to HPV (human papillomavirus), and they are noncancerous warts that need to be removed through lasering.

Get Help From Ear, Nose, and Throat Experts

At Del Rey MD, our dedicated team of otolaryngologists and physician’s assistants are here to help you find the best treatment for your needs. Our California practice has offices in Marina Del Rey/Los Angeles, Bakersfield, and Long Beach for your convenience.

You can call us at 310-823-4444 or schedule an appointment online.

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