When a person loses their voice, it is typically due to inflammation of the voice box, or larynx. Doctors call inflammation of the voice box laryngitis. Resting the voice, avoiding irritants, and potentially using prescription medications may all help.
Acute laryngitis is short-lived inflammation of the larynx that will commonly resolve without treatment but can last a couple of weeks. Voice overuse, an upper respiratory infection, or severe irritation from smoke and other pollutants can cause acute laryngitis.
Laryngitis can also become chronic and last a long time. Acid reflux, allergies, smoking, and some infections can all cause chronic laryngitis.
This article will discuss ways a person can get their voice back more quickly and when to see a doctor.
A person should avoid whispering, as whispering puts more strain on the vocal cords.
Smoke is an irritant to the vocal cords and can delay healing time.
If a person smokes, they should take a break from it when experiencing laryngitis. It is also advisable to stop smoking altogether, as it reduces the risk for many different health issues.
A person with laryngitis should also avoid alcohol as it is an irritant and can cause dehydration.
A person should try to avoid dry and dusty environments, which can irritate the larynx.
When experiencing laryngitis, a person should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Water is best for avoiding dehydration. However, a person can also drink warm liquids, such as tea and broth, which may also help soothe the larynx.
A person should avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee or black tea, as caffeine can lead to dehydration.
Over-the-counter medication can help ease the discomfort of symptoms associated with laryngitis from an infectious cause.
An air humidifier helps to moisten the air that a person breathes in, particularly at night while sleeping.
Moisturizing the air is helpful during the winter months as indoor heating dries out the air, which may cause further irritation.
Moisture from a humidifier will soothe airways and promote healing from laryngitis.
There are many humidifiers available to purchase online.
Inhaling steam will help increase moisture in the airways and loosen up mucus and secretions.
A simple and effective way to do this is to take a hot shower. Using essential oils, such as ginger or lemon, can also help soothe the airways and throat.
A person can also achieve this by inhaling steam from a bowl of boiling water. Take care to avoid burns and remove the water from the boil before beginning inhalation.
Many people find relief from laryngitis by gargling warm, salty water. Salt helps to heal irritated tissues
Add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of water and gargle a few times per day until symptoms resolve.
Ginger is a natural remedy that many people use for respiratory ailments. People have made use of ginger for its medicinal properties for centuries.
Ginger can help suppress an irritating, dry cough associated with laryngitis. It can also help relieve congestion and soothe throat infections.
A person can use fresh, chopped ginger in a stir-fry or as an ingredient in herbal tea or soups.
Garlic is another food that people have used throughout history to help prevent and treat a variety of ailments.
Research suggests that garlic contains antibacterial and possibly antiviral properties. Therefore, consuming garlic may help prevent some upper respiratory infections.
Garlic has many different uses in food. Try adding it to sauces, stir-fries, or roasting vegetables.
Honey is also a food that people have used as medicine throughout history.
Additionally, some studies have demonstrated that honey suppresses a cough as well as or better than cough suppressant medication, such as dextromethorphan.
Honey is a simple and flavorsome addition to warm tea.
If laryngitis is the result of gastroesophageal reflux disease, then a person could consider making changes to their diet.
A person with reflux should avoid foods that trigger reflux symptoms, including peppermint, alcohol, chocolate, spicy foods, and high fat foods.
Also, it is a good idea to eat the last meal of the day at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Although not a routine recommendation, doctors may suggest prescription medications in some cases.
A doctor might give antibiotics to a person who has severe symptoms for a possible bacterial infection.
A doctor might sometimes provide a prescription corticosteroid, which helps reduce inflammation quickly.
Doctors may prescribe a corticosteroid for a person who uses their voice for their job. However, corticosteroids are not appropriate for everyone.
Laryngitis does not usually require any specific treatment. The condition is typically self-limiting and should resolve without intervention.
A person should see their doctor if laryngitis does not resolve within a couple of weeks. After this time, laryngitis can become chronic.
A doctor might perform diagnostic testing and refer an individual to a specialist if necessary.
Losing one's voice due to laryngitis is typically a short-lived ailment. Home remedies can help soothe symptoms and speed up healing.
Voice overuse, irritants, or an infection can cause laryngitis
Some useful tips to promote healing from laryngitis include resting the voice and staying well hydrated.
A person should contact their doctor if laryngitis does not resolve within a couple of weeks.