By Andrew Schorr
Do you shout at your kids, your partner, or your boss? Are you a sports fan who cheers loudly?
Do you have to speak up to be heard over noise around you? And with any of this do you end up with a hoarse voice?
Some may say it's sexy, but your doctor may see it as a health problem that needs to be checked.
It happens to all of us -- acute laryngitis. When it's really bad it's worse than being hoarse - you can't speak to be heard. Usually resting your voice -- or getting over the cold that may have inflamed your vocal cords -- will make everything right. But not always.
What if the hoarseness or change in the sound of your voice becomes chronic? That's when you may have developed nodules, or benign vocal cord lesions.
Believe it or not there is such a thing as "voice therapy" and it can really help. Sometimes the cure is just training you how to use your voice correctly and avoid any misuse.
Other times, less frequently, you might need fairly simple surgery performed by a specialist, an otolaryngologist. These specialists regularly help singers, broadcasters, coaches, and yes, people like you and me.
Usually everything can get back to normal. But, of course, there's one caveat, if you smoke you will not only hurt your voice, you will raise your risk of cancer of the larynx.
In any case, if you have ongoing hoarseness, get it checked. And speak softly, you may find your words will still have impact.
For more on treating voice problems listen to this Patient Power interview with Dr. Katherine Yung from the UCSF Medical Center. http://www.patientpower.info/program/diagnosing-and-treating-voice-disorders?r=byExpert&oid=d5aa1300-9490-11e1-9fa7003048d404c1/
About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, plus transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team.
Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info and on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Schorr is also the author of "The Web Savvy Patient: An Insider's Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis" found at www.websavvypatient.com/
Interview with Katherine C. Yung, M.D., Otolaryngologist, San Francisco, Calif., UCSF Voice and Swallowing Center; assistant professor of laryngology, UCSF. Conducted 5/2/12 and available online from Patient Power at
Voice Therapy, Medscape Reference Article by Ryan C Branski, PhD, CCC/SLP; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA; Accessed online 5/30/12 at
Reviewed May 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
By Andrew Schorr