Dysphonia, also known as hoarseness, is a general term used to describe a variety of changes in voice quality. Persistence of hoarseness for a maximum of three months is not normal in adults or children, and may be an indication of a serious underlying pathology. Evaluation should take place at that time or at any time prior if a serious underlying cause is suspected. 
A wide variety of laryngeal and extra-laryngeal conditions can cause hoarseness, and there are many challenges associated with its evaluation. Early identification of symptoms, by both the patient and physician, and visualisation of the larynx are mandatory for diagnosis. However, confusion surrounding the terminology of the various laryngeal lesions and inadequate laryngeal visualisation contribute to the difficulty in diagnosing hoarseness. Diagnosis and treatment are frequently delayed as a result of misdiagnosis or poor awareness of early voice changes.
Management of voice disorders requires specialised knowledge and a multi-disciplinary team approach.