At some point or the other almost everyone may have experienced loss of voice or rough, coarse, harsh and low pitched voice in their life. It is only when we lose our voice we realize the importance of voice box that produces sound as a mean of communication for conveying our expressions and emotions.
The larynx (voice box) is a small structure situated in the throat which is responsible for producing voice. It is a tube like structure consisting of vocal cords that vibrate to produce sound which is converted into speech. For some reason when the larynx get inflamed the vocal cord gets swollen or if there is any irregularity in them, it leads to impairment in its phonatory function.
What Causes Loss Of Voice?
There are several reasons for loss of voice:
Most common and frequent is overuse of voice; such as shouting and screaming, talking loudly, singing etc.
Second most important cause for loss of voice is exposure to irritants such as gasses, dust, tobacco smoke, alcohol etc. Upper respiratory infections such as cold and influenza, incessant coughing can cause hoarseness and loss of voice.
Other less common is viral infection that causes acute laryngitis such as measles and mumps may lead to huskiness and roughness of voice. Stress, fatigue, exposure to cold temperature can be a reason for loss of voice.
Damage to recurrent laryngeal nerve or Vagus nerve following thyroid operation, or surgical procedure of chest or cardiac surgery can also cause loss of voice. Vocal cord nodule, laryngeal cancer, allergies, acid reflux are other causes for loss of voice.
Home Remedies For Loss Of Voice
In most cases, loss of voice though bothersome is temporary, benign and reversible. In case of acute laryngitis, the lost voice is completely regained within a week or two.
However, in chronic laryngitis it will depend on the underlying cause, such as discontinuing alcohol, and quitting smoking may benefit the person from frequent loss of voice.
If loss of voice remains for more than a week or more, you have to consult an ENT specialist.
There are various simple remedies that can be tried to regain loss of voice.
- One such effective remedy is to give rest to your voice box, to remain silent is considered as the best remedy for loss of voice! Try to speak as less as possible; it gives a healing touch to the voice box.
- Avoid whispering as it leads to unwanted pressure on the vocal cord and makes the things worse; instead if you want to communicate try to talk slowly and without straining.
- Drink warm water frequently it provides adequate lubrication to the swollen throat and voice box.
- Steam: inhaling steam helps to soothe your vocal cord. You can also opt for a relaxing hot shower. It also relieves the throat irritation.
- The best home remedy for loss of voice is in your kitchen cabinet and it is salt, honey and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey in a glass of warm water. Gargle it at least three times in a day. It is the time tested home remedy known to humans since ages for treating loss of voice.
- Use a humidifier in your office or in your room. Humidifier keeps the atmosphere moist which is needed for soothing your throat and the vocal cords.
- Drink a cup of ginger tea mixed with honey at least three times in a day effectively restores your voice within few days. Both act on the bacteria and viruses that are responsible for causing inflammation and infection in larynx.