Communication is an important aspect of our everyday lives, and most people use their voices frequently to communicate throughout their waking hours. However, when hoarseness strikes, it can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing roadblock to communication. Dr. Giulio Cavalli, your ENT doctor in Pittsfield, MA, sees many patients who are dealing with this common issue, and he's outlined some of the ways he helps them prevent hoarseness from becoming a problem.
What is hoarseness?
Patients in Pittsfield with hoarseness may speak very quietly or in a raspy or strained-sounding tone. This is usually due to an irritation of the voice box, or larynx, or the structures that make it up. This is often due to overuse of the voice, particularly if you've had to yell or sing for a long period. It's also a common issue that tends to happen toward the end of a cold or flu. People with chronic conditions like allergies, thyroid disorders, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are also prone to hoarseness. While the majority of reasons for hoarseness are not particularly serious, it is occasionally a symptom of cancer of the larynx or surrounding structures.
How do I prevent hoarseness?
If your Pittsfield ENT has diagnosed you with one of the conditions that lead to hoarseness, you may be wondering how to keep it at bay. Here are a few tips to get ahead of your hoarse voice:
- Nip bad habits in the bud. As you know, quitting smoking has a positive bearing on every part of your health. Committing to quitting smoking can greatly improve hoarseness.
- Stay hydrated. Keep your throat (and the rest of your body) well-watered. Sip on water throughout the day to maintain moisture. Drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine can have the opposite effect on your body and should be enjoyed in moderation.
- Introduce humidity. Consider running a humidifier in your home, particularly if your heat or air conditioner runs constantly. These appliances help regulate the temperature, but can also dry the environment out. A humidifier releases a small amount of moisture into the air which can offset the dryness and keep your hoarseness under control.
If your voice is hoarse for longer than two weeks, a call to your Pittsfield MA otolaryngologist for an evaluation is a good idea. Contact the office of Dr. Giulio Cavalli at (413) 443-6116 to set up an appointment today!