Unfortunately, even though infants don’t possess fully developed vocal skills, they’re not immune to the hoarseness and vocal problems that can plague adults. If you notice that your infant has a raspy voice, there are a number of simple causes and solutions for the hoarseness.
Common causes of hoarseness in infants include:
- Prolonged crying. Although all infants cry, some do so more frequently, especially when suffering from colic. Excessive crying can lead to swollen vocal cords and a raspy voice. Once infants rest their voices, the hoarseness can diminish. Many infants outgrow phases of heavy crying on their own.
- Acid reflux. Gastroesophageal disease, or acid reflux, is common in babies, and severe or frequent attacks can lead to a raspy voice. Although the condition occurs in many infants, it’s important to visit a doctor if you suspect acid reflux in your infant; the child’s eating and sleeping patterns also can be disrupted. Diet changes and medication often offer relief.
- Vocal cord nodules. When the voice is used excessively, including from long crying spells, callous-like nodules can grow on the vocal cords and prevent them from functioning effectively. Vocal rest is usually recommended for these nodules, meaning that treatment can be difficult in infants, who cannot directly comprehend medical instructions. Check with a doctor if hoarseness persists – though in this condition, many infants must outgrow their crying before finding ease.
- Allergies. Symptoms of allergies, including post-nasal drip, can lead to vocal-cord irritation and swelling. Hoarseness and other complications can result, so it’s especially important to consult a doctor to determine the cause of any allergic reactions.
Any general illness – even a cold – can be linked to hoarseness if it means your infant is suffering from congestion and a post-nasal drip. The accompanying raspy voice and discomfort should both pass once the illness does.
If your infant is experiencing vocal trouble, including signs of hoarseness, then feel free to contact our office anytime for personalized advice.