Baby Hoarse Voice – Causes and Treatment

Hoarse Voice in Babies

Babies cry. We all know that. Some babies tend to cry a lot and quite loudly, for longer durations, while some might not cry much. In either of these cases, there might be instances where you notice your little one’s voice to be a little hoarse than usual. There might be instances of  hoarse voice due to teething or when he/he is ill, where you end up noticing that your child’s voice does not sound as it usually does.

Causes of a Hoarse Voice in Infant

Usually, the reasons behind your infant having a hoarse voice range from the simplest explanations to signs of a serious medical condition.

1. Crying a Lot

A baby’s hoarse voice due to crying is the most common reason seen in children, all the time. This happens with adults as well, when the vocal cords are put under a lot of strain. A lot of crying can cause the baby’s chords to swell up, leading to his/her voice sounding hoarse.

2. Formation of Nodules

This is usually a consequence of crying and putting a lot of stress on the vocal chords. When the chords are put under a lot of stress, there are chances of nodules forming on them, due to overuse. This results in the voice getting raspy. However, this is a rare occurence in infants.

3. Presence of Phlegm

The vocal tract is also connected to the nose, which is why any obstruction in the nose affects the voice as well. If your little one has a cough or a cold, the presence of phlegm in the throat can obstruct normal speech, causing the voice to be hoarse.

4. Result of Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is pretty common in babies, since their digestive system is yet to reach full maturity. However, when the reflux starts getting too frequent, the acid that keeps rising to the throat can interact with the vocal chords and cause them to develop a scratchy texture.

5. Constant Papillomatosis of the Respiratory System

This is yet another illness that is quite rare to occur babies, but it does result in a hoarse voice. Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis or RRP is caused due to the HPV virus, or the human papillomavirus. It leads to a wart-like formation on the vocal chords, causing them to sound hoarse.

6. Possibility of a Tumour

This one is quite serious and can lead to fatal consequences, if not diagnosed quickly. In such cases, babies usually cry a lot and then start having problems with breathing, as well. The presence of a tumour does not necessarily indicate cancer, but it definitely does hinder the normal functioning of the chords.

When should Your Baby Undergo Treatment for Hoarse Voice?

When hoarseness is generally a result of natural reasons, itt tends to fade away in a few hours to a couple of days. You must definitely get in touch with a doctor to get the cause of hoarse voice diagnosed, and understand treatment options, if:

  • The voice keeps changing frequently over the next couple of days
  • The hoarseness tends to stay as it is, for nearly a month
  • The child starts having difficulty breathing properly
  • There seems to be a lump-like formation in the throat region
  • The child coughs a lot and throws up blood, intermittently

Hoarse Voice Treatment Options for Infants

Hoarse Voice Treatment Options for Infants

The presence of hoarse voice in your little one can be quite disconcerting for you and be irritating for the child as well. Based on what the diagnosis for hoarseness might be, there are a bunch of treatment options that can be undertaken to alleviate  hoarseness or heal the condition.

1. Hoarseness Due to Crying

For a baby who has a hoarse throat due to crying excessively, it is important to not cause further stress on the chords. Hold your baby and hum a song to soothe him/her down, as soon as you can. Try to lull your baby to sleep, so that he/she can take some rest, or give a bottle of milk to calm down.

2. Hoarseness Due to Nodules

Surgery is usually avoided for babies and focus is put on soothing the vocal cords. By opting for humidification procedures, reducing allergy triggers, as well as clearing sinuses, the nodules present on the vocal chords can be reduced.

3. Hoarseness Due to Phlegm

Phlegm begins by obstructing the nasal passage in the first place. So, it is necessary to clear out the cold present in the nose using nasal sprays or saline solutions. Most of the times, the phlegm is a result of an illness, which reduces, once the illness is treated.

4. Hoarseness Due to Acid Reflux

The hoarseness caused in such a case cannot be taken care of right away. The key aspect here is to reduce acid reflux by instilling a fixed diet plan and making sure your child’s digestive processes are streamlined.

5. Hoarseness Due to RRP

Since this is the result of an infection caused by a virus, your doctor might suggest a medication that can combat the virus. In severe cases, a surgery might also be required.

6. Hoarseness Due to a Tumour

On detection of a tumour, your doctor will undertake tests to check whether it is a cancerous tumour or not. Depending on that, treatment options might include countering cancer or undertaking a surgery to remove the tumour.

Tips on Caring for Hoarse Voice in Babies

Though it is advised to consult a doctor if your baby is experiencing hoarse voice, there are certain steps and precautions you can take to promote healing and reduce discomfort.

1. Restrict and Ease Strain on Vocal Chords

To avoid your baby straining or overusing his/her vocal chords, try various methods of relaxing him/her, such as swaddling, singing, humming a melody, etc. As your baby grows, initiate silent time where he/she can play silently for a set amount of time.

2. Regularly give your baby sips of water

Making sure your baby is hydrated should be of utmost importance, due to various reasons. Make sure your baby is sipping on water or breast milk throughout the day to remain hydrated, which reduces hoarseness.

3. Restrict Exposure to Negative Environments and Regularly Vaccinate

Exposure to tobacco smoke and pollution can cause breathing issues, as well as conditions that cause hoarse voice in babies. Additionally, regular vaccinating children strengthens their immune system, strengthening resistance to viruses and germs that cause sicknesses leading to hoarseness in the voice of babies. 

When it comes to understanding the cause of a baby’s hoarse voice, there may not be other symptoms  present to provide a clear picture of the reason behind the condition. Usually, taking stock of the infant’s behaviour prior to the hoarse voice might contain the clues you need. Treatment options then become pretty straightforward.