Hoarseness is a general term which describes abnormal voice changes. Hoarseness is a huskiness of voice. It is due to irritation of the vocal cords. Hoarseness may take several forms, including a breathiness, raspiness, strain of the voice, or changes in loudness or the tone of the voice. However, when speaking or singing, the vocal cords are brought together, essentially narrowing the air flow and vibrating, producing sound.