Conditions + Treatments

Hoarseness in Children

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Vocalization happens when vocal cords move together and vibrate for the production of a normal voice. Any process that affects the structure or function of the vocal cords can lead to a hoarse voice.

  • The most common cause of hoarseness in children is related to colds or flu, which can cause inflammation. This type of hoarseness usually goes away once the cold symptoms have resolved.
  • Sometimes, children experience hoarseness due to vocal cord nodules. These occur as a result of constant shouting, screaming, or singing. You can think of these nodules like calluses that form on the vocal cords from vigorous vocal usage. Once your otolaryngologist has confirmed the presence of these vocal nodules, the mainstay of therapy is through a speech therapist. Your therapist will train your child to use vocalization techniques that will not strain the voice. Sometimes, nodules do not respond to this conservative therapy and surgical intervention is required.
  • Less common causes of hoarseness include immobility of the vocal cord, polyps or cysts on the vocal cords, foreign bodies in the airway and tumors. A complete examination by your otolaryngologist will rule out these conditions.
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