When you talk, yell or sing for a long time, your voice may become hoarse. In simple terms, a hoarse voice or hoarseness means an abnormal change in your voice due to which you cannot make smooth vocal sounds. Your voice may change in pitch and volume, leaving you with a deep, harsh voice or a weak, whispery voice. This change is due to some problem in the sound-producing parts (vocal folds) of the voice box (larynx).
People of all ages develop this common problem from time to time. In addition to overuse of vocal cords, some common causes of a hoarse voice are laryngitis (upper respiratory tract viral infection), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), allergies, drinking excessive amounts of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, smoking, inhaling respiratory tract irritants, living in an extremely dry place and persistent coughing.
Other less common causes are polyps (abnormal growths) on the vocal cords, throat cancer, internal damage to the throat, thyroid problems and nerve conditions that weaken the voice box muscles.
To treat a hoarse voice, the first thing you need to do is stop talking and singing. Even avoid talking in whispers as much as possible. You must fully rest your vocal cords and larynx for a couple of days for quick recovery.
You can also try some quick fixes and home remedies to recuperate in a short time. If you have persistent hoarseness for more than two weeks, consult your doctor.
Here are the top 10 ways to treat a hoarse voice.
Ginger is an effective herb to deal with a hoarse voice. It is very soothing to the mucous membranes surrounding the voice box and alleviates inflammation. It also helps prevent infections in the upper respiratory tract.
- Eat thin slices of raw, fresh ginger at regular intervals. To enhance the taste, you can sprinkle a little salt and lemon juice on it.
- Another option is to simmer 1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and add honey. Drink this up to 3 times a day.
- Sucking on ginger candy is also helpful.
Honey is very effective in dealing with a hoarse voice. It helps coat and soothe the irritated throat and helps reduce inflammation.
- Simply eat 1 tablespoon of raw, organic honey a few times daily to keep the throat moist.
- Another option is to mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey and a pinch of black pepper powder in a glass of warm water. Drink it a few times a day.
- Alternatively, mix equal amounts of honey and basil leaf juice. Eat it 3 times daily.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
To ease pain and other discomforts of a hoarse voice, use apple cider vinegar. Also, its antimicrobial properties help fight infection to treat laryngitis, one of the most common causes of a hoarse voice.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. Drink it a few times daily.
- Also, mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water. Use the solution to gargle at least twice a day.
4. Salt Water Gargle
Gargling with warm salt water, a few times a day, is an effective treatment to restore your voice to normal. While the salt helps remove mucus from the respiratory tract, the hot water reduces irritation in the throat. Due to its antiseptic properties, salt also helps prevent a throat infection.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water.
- Mix well, until the salt dissolves completely.
- Gargle with it 2 or 3 times daily.
5. Steam Treatment
A common cause of a hoarse and raspy voice is dryness in your throat. Hence, a steam treatment will help ease discomfort. To make the treatment more effective, you can use a few drops of essential oil.
- Heat a pot of water until boiling.
- Add a few drops of lavender, chamomile and thyme essential oils.
- Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam rising from the pot.
- Do this twice daily.
6. Cayenne Pepper
To fight hoarseness quickly, you can also try cayenne pepper. It helps soothe an irritated throat, reduces pain and swelling, and even helps fight a throat infection.
- Mix ½ or 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder with 1 tablespoon of honey. Slowly eat the mixture off the spoon.
- Alternatively, you can add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and the juice of ½ lemon to a glass of warm water. Drink it slowly.