Now, let us examine what voice loss really is. It is usually a temporary condition due to inflammation of the larynx. Known as laryngitis, the hoarseness that normally comes with it does not make talking any easier.
Common causes of laryngitis:
- Upper respiratory infection such as cold and flu
- Overuse of voice via talking, singing or shouting
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Exposure to secondhand smoke or polluted air
The common symptoms are:
- Hoarseness of voice
- Voice loss
- Pains when swallowing
- A painful or sore throat
Most of the laryngitis cases are temporary and improve within a couple of days. However, not being able to use your voice properly (speaking, singing, presenting) in the meantime is a bummer, especially if you are a singer or having presentations to give. So, what can you do to feel better?
- A proper rest: An ideal solution, especially if you have been straining your already inflamed vocal cord. Limit the amount you talk, shout or sing. And, DO NOT whisper. Whispering only worsens your inflammation as it makes your larynx work more and delays the recovery time.
- Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of fluid as dehydration only deteriorates the condition.
- Or..have some lemons. Hydrating your throat aside, drinking lemon juice can increase saliva production while destroying the bad germs in the throat.
- Inhale humidified air. This can make you feel better as it soothes the airways while controlling the symptoms. Humidifiers can be purchased from most pharmacies. Or, create a humidified area yourself. The bathroom is usually the best place. Run the hot water in the shower until there is plenty of steam around. Spend about 15-30 minutes breathing in the warm, moist air. Be sure to drain the hot water to prevent burn risks.
- Keep your throat moist. Increase saliva production by sucking on throat lozenges or chewing on gum to alleviate itchiness and reduce inflammation in your throat.
- Gargle with an antibacterial mouthwash. The antibacterial properties can swish off the bad bacteria and virus that inhabit your mouth to make you feel better.
- Or.. with salt water. This classic home remedy can effectively relieve throat irritation and inflammation. Salt has antibacterial properties that can remove bad germs and heal your inflamed throat.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine intake. Avoid smoking and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake as these can be irritants to your inflamed vocal cords.
- If symptoms last more than 3 weeks or recurred continuously, contact your doctor for further treatments.
- Antibiotics may not work. Although bacterial sources may be possible, laryngitis is usually due to viral infections. Therefore, it should be prescribed if bacterial infection is identified or suspected.
About Health. Available from www.about.com/health
Find Home Remedy. Available from www.findhomeremedy.com
Live Science. Available from www.livescience.com
MedicineNet. Available from www.medicinenet.com
Patient.co.uk. Available from www.patient.co.uk