Preventing Hoarseness in Children

Many people experience occasional hoarseness, which makes the voice sound raspy, weak, or strained. Usually, such hoarseness disappears after the underlying cause—such as a cold, an allergy, or another condition that can inflame the vocal cords—has been managed or goes away on its own.

A child whose hoarseness continues for several weeks or longer may need further evaluation by a specialist, who can determine the cause and the best way to treat it.


Voice experts at NYU Langone recommend that your child drink plenty of water to hydrate the vocal cords. This is especially important when taking medications that reduce the production of saliva, which can cause dry mouth. Instead of clearing the throat and straining the vocal cords, your child should sip water.

Our specialists also suggest that your child avoid drinking carbonated or acidic drinks, such as sodas and citrus juices, which can irritate vocal cords.


Teach your child to breathe more slowly. Taking deep, measured breaths replenishes air in the lungs and ensures that enough air is flowing through the vocal cords when speaking or singing.

Exercise and Rest

Ask your child to notice when his or her voice feels tense and strained, which can cause hoarseness. Our voice experts can talk with you about exercises designed to relax the voice, such as singing or reading aloud.

A good night’s sleep can help to prevent fatigue of the vocal cords, especially if they are already swollen or irritated. If your child is tired, it may take him or her more effort to make a sound. This effort can cause your child to force more air through the vocal cords when speaking, making the cords even more tense and fatigued.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the risk of your child developing gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a condition in which acid from the stomach enters the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Acid in the throat can irritate the vocal cords, causing hoarseness.

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