The voice, one of the major communication elements, may become ill, much as the rest of our organs. A good number of reasons may result in hoarseness or loss of voice and that is why we need to get a much better understanding of our voice, take care of and protect it. Prof. Mustafa Kazkayasi M.D., an otolaryngologist with Anadolu Medical Center, tells us that hoarseness of voice may be a symptom of throat, lung or brain cancer and when in discomfort, we should not underestimate the visits to the doctor: “You should not let panic set in, but the condition should not be taken lightly”, says Kazkayasi M.D.
The definition of hoarseness of voice comprises any changes in the sound of one’s voice, the lowering of pitch or the loss of voice altogether. It also refers to biphonation/bifurcation of the voice, a vibrating or hoarse voice, adds Kazkayasi M.D. “On the whole, “hoarseness” is any lowering in pitch or loss of voice altogether, bifurcation of the voice, or, generally, any voice-related discomfort. Sound is produced in the vocal cords but besides them, the path of the sound, which starts with the lungs and ends with the lips, comprises a number of organs that play a part in and affect the formation of sound itself. Last but not least, we should also mention the role of the muscles, which make the vocal cords vibrate, and the nerves, the tenth cranial nerve, in particular, which transfer the sound to the brain.”
Prof. Kazkayasi M.D. emphasizes the fact that hoarseness may appear as a result of an upper respiratory tract infection or be caused by reflux. With time the source of infection, which may appear common at first sight, could trigger malignancy in the region of the throat, lungs, brain or other organs and, therefore, hoarseness of voice should be considered as a serious symptom and the necessary precautions should be taken promptly.
Apart from infections, the most common causes of hoarseness are the nodules, polyps, cysts or swellings that may appear in the vocal cords. Prof. Kazkayasi M.D. explains that in cases of swellings in the region of the neck, swallowing difficulties, a sense that something has stuck onto one’s throat, blood-smeared phlegm, as well in cases of involuntary entry of food into the lungs secondary to coughing, urgent surgery is needed.
If hoarseness of voice persists over two weeks, you should be aware that the condition is serious and should seek prompt medical advice.