female singer close up

Losing Your Voice? Here’s What Might Be Going On In Your Body

Adele, Shakira, Justin Timberlake—they are only some of the most popular musicians today who’ve had to cancel or postpone some of their tour dates due to throat and voice problems. These artists either find that they have to work extra hard to sing or they lose their voice altogether.

Unfortunately, it’s not just singers in the midst of concert tours who are susceptible to this condition. Anyone can fall victim to voice loss or strain, also known as or laryngitis.

According to a voice clinic in Colorado, when you notice that you have dry windpipes, a hoarse voice, and frequent urges to clear your throat, these might be signs that you need to have your throat looked at. This is because when you have laryngitis, your vocal cords become inflamed, resulting in voice hoarseness or loss and pain in the throat.

If you’re experiencing laryngitis, you might be suffering from one of the following conditions that cause your vocal cords to swell:

Upper Respiratory Infections

Sinus infections such as colds, cough, and bronchitis may cause you to lose your voice. Sinus infections inflame your throat, causing it to become sore. As your vocal cords swell, their vibration becomes different. This results in you having a hoarse voice or losing it completely.

Fortunately, there are easily-accessible medicines to cure respiratory infections. By drinking plenty of fluids, you can ease the congestion of mucus in your sinus and recover.

Strained Throat Muscles

If you’re a person with a vocally-demanding job, such as a singer, teacher, or priest, you’re likely to get sore muscles in your throat. Like carpal tunnel issues in the hands, the repetitive motion of the throat muscles from overuse can lead to vocal injury.

In this case, vocal pacing is important. According to Duke Health, people in the above mentioned professions should practice vocal pacing to balance the use of their voice and rest the throat muscles. This is because as you speak, sing, or use your voice in any way, the vocal folds vibrate. Too much vibration in one day can lead to vocal injury. With the practice of vocal pacing, you can take short and long voice breaks within a workday, an essential step to avoid voice injury.

studio recording equipment

Irritated Vocal Cords Due to Smoking

Smoking has many documented negative health implications, one of which is the loss of your voice. Cigarette smoke irritates vocal cords, which may then lead to long-term voice problems. Additionally, smoking has been linked to the formation of esophageal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking a pack of cigarette a day doubles the risk of getting adenocarcinoma, one type of esophageal cancer.

Polyps, Nodules, and Cysts

These non-cancerous growths can appear on your vocal cords, especially after too much yelling or speaking. Nodules are callus-like formations that usually grow in your vocal cords. These go away after you give your throat and voice enough rest.

Polyps, meanwhile, are abnormal tissue growths that often look like small bumps or mushroom-like stalks protruding from a mucous membrane. Finally, cysts are masses of tissue that grow beneath or near the surface of the vocal cords. These growths can cause serious changes to your voice and you may need surgery to remove them.

The throat and voice are responsible for major functions of people’s everyday lives. You use your throat to swallow what you eat and to produce sounds so you could talk. These are reasons enough to take care of your voice and recognize when you’ve been abusing it.