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How to rein in hoarseness

Communicating is hard enough without the irritation of hoarseness.

Hoarseness is most commonly caused by colds, flus and other infections. It can also result from allergies, persistent throat-clearing, smoking, stomach acid reflux or vocal strain.

To hold off hoarseness, follow these tips from the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery:

  • Avoid frequent throat-clearing by sipping on water throughout the day.
  • Seek treatment if your hoarseness is related to allergies.
  • Don't smoke. Avoid smoky environments.
  • Use a humidifier if you use indoor heat.
  • Take breaks from speaking if you must talk a lot at work, or use a microphone if possible.
  • Talk at a reasonable volume. Don't scream or try to talk over loud noise.

To treat hoarseness, rest your voice, gargle, drink hot tea, suck lozenges or take a steamy shower or bath.

You should see a doctor if:

  • Your hoarseness lasts more than four weeks.
  • There is a severe change in your voice or if you lose your voice for more than a few days.
  • You have a painful hoarseness but don't have a cold or flu.
  • You cough up blood, have a lump in your neck or have a hard time swallowing.

reviewed 4/25/2019

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