Hoarseness for a Month: More Than Just a Nuisance

Question: I had a cough during the first week of the New Year and I lost my voice for about a week. Since then, I get my voice back very slowly and it had been exactly a month now but I still don’t have my full voice. My current voice sounds like I smoked for that last 30 years (I never smoked) and it faded when I try to raise my voice or say something at a higher pitch. Other than the voice change, I feel no other symptoms, even during my cough. I just have had this hoarseness for a month now.

Is this something I should check with a specialist?


After experiencing hoarseness for a month, you should visit a doctor to have an examination. While everyone has experienced hoarseness at some point in their life, usually the problem goes away with some rest and self-care after several days. Current guidelines state that anyone with hoarseness that persists for more than two to three weeks should have an evaluation to find the root cause. While hoarseness is often a result of numerous treatable conditions, it could also be a sign of cancer. While cancer isn’t as likely, it is still wise to get checked out. Early detection will always improve your odds of successful treatment.

Some of the common causes of having a hoarse throat for an extended period of time include:

  • Vocal cords losing fullness and tension due to age.
  • Chronic irritation of vocal cords, caused by smoking, allergies, GERD, etc.
  • Spasm of the vocal cord muscle
  • Cancer
  • Complications from other diseases such as MS, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Rather than repeating the entire discussion here, let me send you to the part of our web site that discusses this problem so you can get more information.


I hope this helps.

Robert Pincus MD

Associate Professor Otolaryngology

NY Voice Center/ NY Sinus Center