ZocdocAnswersWhat causes a voice to sound throaty?

Question

What causes a voice to sound throaty?

This is a strange question, I know, but my son's voice (he's 17) has started sounding really 'throaty', for lack of a better word. Is this a sign that something is wrong with his throat or vocal chords? Or am I just being an overprotective mom?

Answer

A change in one's voice is a normal process for all men during puberty. However, there are also conditions that cause an abnormal change in voice. I encourage you to discuss this with your son's pediatrician to rule out an abnormal cause of this. As mentioned, a change in one's voice is a normal part of puberty for all males--that is, a change in voice is a secondary sex characteristic. Testosterone, as it is increasingly produced by the testes during puberty, causes a change in the vocal cords and larynx that deepens the voice. This happens often later in puberty--with the average age of voice change being 15. That being said, many will change after that--so it is possible that your son is completing normal puberty. There are abnormal causes of a voice change. As discussed above, testosterone changes one's voice--so a process that produces excess testosterone can cause this. Testicular cancer, adrenal cancer or growth hormone excess can cause this. Infections such as laryngitis or sinusitis can sometime cause it. Inflammation is a very common cause--most commonly caused by smoking. I would discuss this with your son. Another common cause in adults is gastric reflux--or heartburn. If your son has digestive problems this could be the cause. If this continues and / or worsens, I would encourage you to discuss this with his pediatrician. While likely a normal process, some abnormal processes should be ruled out.

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