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As already stated, all patients presenting to their GP with a new complaint of hoarseness must be treated extremely seriously. The majority of acute hoarseness is due to laryngitis or vocal strain, and it is therefore conventional to allow 3-6 weeks to elapse before specialist referral. No one consulting a GP with a new (or indeed a recurrent) problem of hoarseness should be kept under observation for more than six weeks without referral to a laryngologist.