A hoarse voice develops when there is an abnormal change in the voice, usually one that occurs at the same time as a scratchy throat. This hoarseness gives your voice a raspy, weak quality that adequately prevents you from conversing normally for some people, this is often accompanied by a noticeable change in the pitch of the voice, depending on how sharp one’s voice is. At the core of a hoarse voice is a change in the functioning of the vocal folds. These folds are located in a structure known as the larynx, or the voice box. During breathing, the folds are separated while during talking, the folds join and vibrate as the air exits the respiratory system.
This vibration is what produces the sound. As such, when the folds are altered in structure, they prevent optimal vibration, and this is what causes the characteristic hoarseness. Some of the causes of a hoarse voice include infection of the voice box ( a condition known as laryngitis), chronic smoking, food allergies, common cold, diseases that affect the nerves as well gastroesophageal reflux.
The latter occurs when stomach content comes up the esophagus and causes a stinging irritation of the vocal folds. Perhaps the most common cause of a hoarse voice is the misuse of the voice. How is this possible? Through activities that cause straining of the vocal folds. Some of the most common culprits in this case include talking loudly in an extremely noisy environment, talking for long periods of time and using the wrong pitch (either very low or very high) and persistent coughing.
A hoarse voice may also be the result of unusual growths on the vocal folds, cancer of the throat and trauma to the throat. Listed below are some of the effective home remedies that you need to use for the natural treatment of voice hoarseness. While these remedies are effective for the management of mild hoarseness, you must see an otolaryngologist if the hoarseness persists for more than three weeks, if you are coughing up blood, or if if the hoarse voice is accompanied by a lump in the throat region.
1. Take a Voice Rest:
Time Required: Typically spread across one’s waking hours.
What You Need: A conscious decision to reduce one’s talking. It helps to have a notepad and pen to write down if need be.
Just as the name suggests, voice rest requires you to reduce the amount of talking and singing in order to allow for quick recuperation from the effects of a hoarse voice. as a general guide for this natural approach, avoid talking for pleasure. Instead, talk only when it is mandatory. This is applicable at home and at the workplace with relative ease if you are determined to speed up the healing process. Note that there are two types of voice rest: total voice rest and relative voice rest.
Total voice rest, just as the name suggests, means total silence. There is absolutely no coughing, singing, talking and even whispering. This radical form of treatment is recommended after surgical intervention. Relative voice rest is relevant for the treatment of a hoarse voice as it is less restrictive. Ideally, it allows you to talk as and when your daily routine requires you to do so. The catch lies in reducing the use of the voice as well as its modification to ensure speedy recovery. Grab a pen and notebook to help you communicate with ease.
- To improve the use of this natural treatment, medical experts recommend the 7-point talkativeness scale. This simple scale rates your likelihood to talk, and not the actual talking itself.
- To use this scale, you will need the help of friends and family to rate you on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is talkative, 4 is moderately talkative and 7 is extremely talkative.
- Get the total ratings and find the average.
- Depending on where you fall on this scale, it is important to reduce the amount of talking significantly so that the hoarse voice clears quickly.
- It is also important to avoid whispering at all costs. In fact, it is better to talk quietly than to whisper. The latter causes excessive stress on the vocal folds in addition to drying them out as a result of excessive air rushing through the folds as they vibrate. whispering worsens the extent of the hoarseness, and is best avoided altogether.
2. Gargle Warm Salt Water :
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Teaspoon of salt and warm water.
One of the most common causes of a hoarse voice is the inflammation of the larynx (the voice box). While conventional medicine exists for this kind of infection, the most common form of home treatment is gargling with warm salty water. This not only provides much needed relief from the infection, it also helps to deal with the raspy voice. The mode of action of this remedy revolves around the use of salt. The salt present creates a region of high osmotic pressure outside the voice box. This in turn draws the excess fluid accumulated in the throat as a result of the infection, effectively reducing the swelling. this remedy also works amazingly well for a hoarse voice that results from colds and flu.
- Simply stir in the salt until it is completely dissolved in the water.
- Gargle using this solution severally daily until the hoarse voice clears.
3. Stay Hydrated:
Time Required: Water intake is spread throughout the day.
What You Need: Adequate drinking water. Lemon wedges and/ or mint leaves.
One of the most common causes of a hoarse voice is a dry throat. There is no better way to counter this than to stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day. Note that caffeinated drinks and carbonated beverages are discouraged because they typically increase dehydration and reverse the healing effects of using water. Combine hydration with voice training (where applicable) for the best results in the natural treatment of a hoarse voice.
- Stay hydrated by drinking enough water during the day. You may add lemon wedges or fresh mint leaves to the water for a refreshing taste. This is especially effective for individuals who are not accustomed to the ‘plain’ taste of water.
- Add to the hydration voice training sessions (recommended for people whose daily living includes using their voices professionally such as musicians) for speedy recovery.
4. Raw Organic Honey:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Raw organic honey.
Raw honey has, for a long time, been used in the natural treatment of different ailments. Thanks to its rich health benefits, honey is a must-have in your cabinet. When it comes to using raw organic honey to treating a hoarse voice, it is important to know how the remedy works. Raw honey is rich in antimicrobial properties that help destroy any potential infections. Honey is slightly acidic (its pH values range between 3.2 and 4.5) and this works against different infections in the throat region. More importantly, raw honey has a soothing effect on the throat’s lining. This is attributed to the honey’s viscous nature. When it coats the throat, the honey works to reduce the irritation of the vocal folds and improve the period of recovery.
NOTE: Honey is not recommended for children below 1 year, and must be used in moderate amounts for small children above 1 year. Raw organic honey is recommended because it has no preservatives, and its unadulterated form is most effective.
- Simply take 1 tablespoon of the raw honey severally daily to keep the throat moist and eliminate irritations that increase voice hoarseness.
- Alternatively, add a pinch of black pepper to the glass of warm water and stir in alongside the raw honey.
- Take this mixture daily until your voice retains its normal pitch without the raspy twist to it.
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Thin slices of fresh raw ginger, a pinch of salt and some lemon juice. You may also use the raw ginger in a cup of hot water.
Ginger is your best friend if you would like to treat a hoarse voice and make a quick recovery. Ginger has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to the presence of potent active ingredients. When used as a home remedy, the ginger also soothes the area around the voice box and ensures seamless vibrations to counter voice hoarseness. This remedy is effective in cases where the voice becomes hoarse due to different infections affecting the upper respiratory tract. Add salt to the remedy for its ability to counter throat infections. You may prepare the remedy in two ways: chewing on the raw ginger or steeping it in hot water and taking it as a drink
- Peel and chop the ginger into thin slices and then chew on these during the day. Add a pinch of salt and fresh lemon juice to improve the taste of the ginger. Note that ginger has an extremely sharp taste, so if you find this too strong you may opt for the second method of preparation.
- In this second method of preparation, place the ginger slices in the cup of hot water and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- Pass the mixture through a strainer to get rid of the used ginger slices.
- Stir in some honey and salt to enjoy the benefits of both remedies.
- Sip on this mixture thrice daily to get rid of a hoarse voice.
6. Steam Therapy:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Hot water in a basin, a few drops of your preferred essential oils (choose from chamomile, thyme or lavender) and a towel.
Steam therapy for the treatment of a hoarse voice is an effective solution largely because it addresses one of the key causes of such a voice: a dry throat. When exposed to the steam, the throat becomes moistened, and this reduces its irritation significantly. The soothing effect of steam therapy also goes a long way in managing the discomfort of the same. To enhance the remedy’s efficiency, add your preferred essential oil and use as outlined in the directions below.
NOTE: Owing to the risk of scalding with hot water, it is important to proceed with this remedy as cautiously as possible. It may not be recommended for small children, the elderly as well as those with disorders of the nervous system. As such, its difficulty is listed as ‘moderate’.
- Heat the water until it reaches boiling point.
- Transfer the water to a basin and add 2 drops of your choice essential oil.
- Bend forward slightly and then drape the towel over your head. This is done to contain the steam and allow for easy inhalation to moisten the parched throat.
- Take deep breaths as the steam rises, taking care not to tip over the basin.
- Repeat this until the water cools down.
- Use this remedy twice daily until the voice hoarseness is completely eliminated.
7. Lemon Juice:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice and a cup of warm water. Lemon wedges and a pinch of salt (both optional).
Lemon juice has been indicated severally in the remedies mentioned above, and this is because it is rich in Vitamin C. This vitamin boosts the immune system, and improves its response to the clearance of throat infections. When used regulalry, lemon juice is also helpful because it moisturises the throat and reduces the soreness of the same. As with the related remedies, you may add some salt to improve the efficiency of this natural treatment. There are two methods of preparation: either squeeze the lemon juice or suck on the lemon wedges.
- Stir in the honey and lemon juice in a glass of warm water.
- Sip on this mixture slowly a couple of times daily to treat the hoarse voice.
- Alternatively, sprinkle some salt on the lemon wedges and suck on them at least thrice everyday until you have eliminated the hoarse voice.
8. Raw Garlic:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 2 Cloves of garlic and warm water. Lemon juice (optional).
Garlic is yet another effective home remedy for the treatment of a hoarse voice. This common kitchen condiment is one of the most popular choices, largely because garlic contains sulfur-based active compounds that help fight off throat infections. Other benefits of using garlic include its ability to reduce inflammation and enhance speedy healing. Most people find the smell of raw garlic quite pungent. To deal with this, simply suck on lemon wedges, both for the smell and healing properties associated with the same.
- Peel and chop the garlic cloves before chopping into 4 small pieces.
- Place the garlic pieces in the two sides of the mouth and bite gently. Biting releases the active ingredients in the garlic and allows their action in the throat area.
- Immediately after chewing on the garlic, drink some lemon juice to eliminate the characteristic smell as well as to keep the throat moist.
9. Onion Juice:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 3 Large onions, a bowl containing water, strainer, warm water, 1 tablespoon of honey and 3 drops of lemon juice.
Onion juice works just as well as garlic because they belong to the same biological family. This juice is an excellent way to sooth the throat as well as prevent pain and inflammation that results from infections in the upper respiratory tract. Add honey and lemon juice for their aforementioned health benefits. Prepare this remedy by following the directions indicated below.
- Peel and cut the onions into small pieces.
- Transfer the chopped onions to a bowl containing water so that the pieces are completely covered by the water.
- Boil the mixture on low heat until it attains a syrupy consistency.
- Pass the mixture through a strainer before adding the honey and lemon.
- Drink this remedy at least thrice daily to get relief from a hoarse voice.
10. Slippery Elm:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of slippery elm powder and 1 cup of warm water.
Slippery elm is one of the best herbal remedies for the natural treatment of a hoarse voice. The high mucilage content of the herb allows it to coat the throat, effectively dealing with voice hoarseness. The powder form of the herb is recommended for this remedy. Note, however, that this remedy is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
- Place the slippery elm powder in a cup of water and allow it to steep for a few minutes.
- Sip on this tea thrice daily.
Other important tips in managing a hoarse voice include avoiding spicy foods, using a humidifier in the home as well as lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking. A hoarse voice is rarely a life-threatening condition. The use of any of the remedies mentioned above should ease the discomfort and allow for quick healing. If, however, the condition does not clear after a couple of days, it is important to see a professional doctor to eliminate any potentially fatal disorders.