Parents may detect abnormal changes in the voice of their child, and this will typically accompany a throat which is dry or sore. If your child’s voice sounds weak, raspy or airy, this is a sign that they are ill. ENT for Children has handled many cases of hoarseness in children and we are able to provide treatment for this condition.

What is hoarseness?

Hoarseness is a condition in which a person’s voice sounds weak. It typically results from a problem with the voice box (which may be inflamed) or the vocal cords. A voice box which is inflamed is referred to as laryngitis. If a child’s voice is hoarse for ten days or more, parents should seek medical assistance immediately, and this may be a sign of a serious underlying medical problem.

Common causes for hoarseness include a virus which is present within the upper respiratory tract, as well as drinking caffeinated beverages, allergies, inhaling substances which are toxic and excessive coughing. A child that screams or strains their voice for prolonged periods of time may also develop hoarseness. In rare cases, hoarseness may be caused by polyps within the vocal cords, as well as a weak thyroid gland or damage which has been sustained to the throat.

What are the symptoms of hoarseness?

The main symptom associated with this condition is a voice that sounds fragile or raspy. The child may display a difficulty speaking and parents will find it hard to hear them. Additionally, the child may also experience pain in their throat when attempting to use their voice.

How is the diagnosis established?

Hoarseness is usually not considered an emergency. However, it may be associated with a medical condition that is, so if the hoarseness lasts for longer than ten days the child should be taken to see Dr. Samadi. Additional warning signs which indicate a child is in need of medical assistance include hoarseness that is accompanied by drooling, as well as an inability to talk or a difficulty swallowing.

If the child is having breathing problems when they arrive to the office, Dr. Samadi will first focus on restoring their ability to breathe. He will either provide the child with a breathing mask or he will insert a breathing tube that will allow them to receive sufficient oxygen. Once this is done, he will speak with the parents and review all the symptoms the child is experiencing, as well as their medical history in order to figure out the cause for the condition. A mirror may be used to examine the child’s throat for any abnormalities and inflammation.

How is hoarseness treated?

Hoarseness treatment is dependent on what’s causing the problem. The child must rest their voice for at least two days, and they should avoid talking or yelling. ENT for Children also recommends providing them with plenty of fluids, especially water. Drinks comprised of caffeine must be avoided as they will dry out the throat and make the situation worse. Parents can place a humidifier in the child’s room to create moisture in the air, which will assist in opening their airways and allowing them to breathe easily. Most treatments for hoarseness can be done at home, but if they are ineffective, you should contact us for further assistance.