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Should I Sing with a Hoarse Voice?

Updated: Mar 9, 2023


Most people experience some hoarseness at some point in their lives, usually because of an infection such as a cold or flu. However, hoarseness can also be caused by other factors such as nodules, polyps, and cysts.

If you are a singer, then you need to take extra care of your voice to prevent hoarseness. There are a number of things you can do to protect your voice, such as practicing good vocal hygiene, using a humidifier, and drinking plenty of fluids. If you are experiencing hoarseness, it is important to seek professional help. A qualified voice therapist or vocologist can help you identify the cause of your hoarseness and provide you with exercises and techniques to improve your vocal production.

Causes of Hoarseness

Hoarseness is a common issue for those who use their voice for singing or speaking. It is often caused by an inflammation of the vocal cords due to over-exertion, excessive speaking or singing. It may also be the result of chronic medical conditions, such as laryngitis, bronchitis, acid reflux, thyroid disorders, or a tumor on the vocal cords. Other causes of hoarseness include smoking and alcohol use, as well as changes in hormones or aging. In addition, some medications and radiation therapy can also cause supportive tissue to thicken, leading to hoarseness. Environmental factors can also increase the risk of hoarseness including, air pollution, seasonal allergies, and vocal strain due to speaking over loud sounds or large distances.

Steps to Take if You Begin to experience Hoarseness

If you start to experience hoarseness that lasts more than a couple of days, you should take the following steps. The first and most important step is to speak to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe certain medications that can help reduce the inflammation and swelling in your vocal cords and make them less susceptible to hoarseness. You should also try massage of the neck, throat, and jaw muscles as this can also help improve vocal quality. Other steps you should take include drinking plenty of fluids, which help to keep your vocal cords lubricated and reduce the risk of infection. You should also practice good vocal hygiene and limit your exposure to loud noise, busy places, and smoke. If you are a singer, it is important to rest the voice between performances to allow the cords to heal.

When to See a Doctor

If your hoarseness persists and does not improve despite taking the above steps, it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor will be able to refer you to a qualified voice therapist who can assess and diagnose the issue, and provide exercises to help strengthen and restore your vocal cords. They may also suggest undergoing a stroboscopic exam to check for any underlying issues with your throat, such as nodules, polyps, ulcers, tumors, or other disorders. In addition, if your hoarseness is accompanied by other worrying symptoms such as dizziness, chest pain, difficulty in swallowing, fever, or any type of lump in your throat, you should seek professional medical help immediately.


Hoarseness is a common issue for those who use their voice a lot, such as singers and speakers. The best way to avoid hoarseness is to take steps to prevent it, such as practicing good vocal hygiene and limiting your exposure to noisy environments and pollution. If you do experience hoarseness, it is important to seek professional help in order to diagnose and treat the underlying cause quickly. By following the advice given here, you will be able to safely continue singing despite hoarseness.


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