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HealthInfo Canterbury

Hoarse or lost voice (laryngitis)

Laryngitis (lar-in-jite-iss) is caused by a problem with your vocal cords, which are the moving parts of your larynx (voice box). This can make your voice sound croaky, strained or weak.

Other symptoms of laryngitis are sore throat, dry cough, mild fever and a constant need to clear your throat.

Causes of hoarse or lost voice

Laryngitis is usually caused by a virus, and it can often be part of another illness, such as the flu, tonsillitis or a sore throat. Rarely, it can be caused by a bacterial infection.

If your hoarse voice lasts longer than three weeks it might be due to something else, such as :

Treating hoarse or lost voice

Laryngitis usually gets better by itself within a week, without any treatment. Resting your voice can help you recover.

You don't usually need antibiotics as they don't work against a virus.

If your hoarse voice doesn't go away within three weeks you should get checked by a doctor.

Self care with hoarse or lost voice

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2020.

See also:

Tips for looking after your voice


Page reference: 135476

Review key: HIHOV-135476