Resting the voice, avoiding irritants, inhaling steam, and other home remedies and medications may all help recover a person’s voice if it is lost.

When a person loses their voice, it usually results from laryngitis, which is inflammation of the voice box, or larynx.

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.

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When a person has laryngitis, it is essential that they rest their voice. Inflammation and irritation will resolve faster if a person avoids using their voice box as much as possible.

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. Healthcare professionals advise stopping 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.

Additionally, people 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.

Over-the-counter medication may help ease the discomfort of symptoms associated with laryngitis from an infectious cause.

Acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help with other symptoms such as headaches, pain, or fever.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends sucking on lozenges, popsicles, or ice chips to help relieve a sore throat.

However, they also note that children under the age of 4 years should not use lozenges.

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 may help soothe airways and promote healing from laryngitis.

Additionally, inhaling steam may 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.

A person can also achieve this by inhaling steam from a bowl of boiling water. They should 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.

A person may try adding a teaspoon of salt to a glass of water and gargling a few times per day until symptoms resolve.

Ginger is a natural remedy that people have used for its medicinal properties for centuries.

Research suggests that ginger has antimicrobial properties, so it may help to relieve laryngitis from an infectious cause. However, ginger may also cause mouth or throat irritation, if a person consumes large amounts.

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.

Similar to ginger, research suggests that garlic has antimicrobial properties. Therefore, consuming garlic may help relieve laryngitis from upper respiratory infections.

A person may try adding garlic to sauces, stir-fries, or roasting vegetables.

Honey is also a food that people have used for its medicinal properties throughout history.

Some studies have shown that honey might also have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, so it may help to relieve laryngitis from an infectious cause.

Additionally, the CDC suggests that it may help to relieve a cough in anyone over the age of 1 year.

Honey is a simple and flavorsome addition to warm tea.

If laryngitis is the result of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), then a person could consider making changes to their diet.

A person with GERD should avoid foods that trigger reflux symptoms, including peppermint, alcohol, chocolate, spicy foods, and high fat foods.

Additionally, a person should aim 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. This may depend on the underlying cause of laryngitis.

For example, a doctor might give antibiotics to a person who has severe symptoms for a possible bacterial infection. Alternatively, if someone has chronic laryngitis due to GERD, they may require medications for the condition.

Sometimes, they may 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.

People who sing or project their voice on a regular basis may wish to try the following tips to take care of their voice:

  • consider using a microphone
  • take breaks to rest their voice throughout the day
  • drink plenty of water
  • practice breath control while singing or reciting lines
  • consider speaking with a voice therapist

As a person recovers from laryngitis they should avoid:

  • smoking
  • drinking caffeinated drinks
  • eating large meals or spicy foods
  • shouting or whispering
  • drinking alcoholic beverages

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 may perform diagnostic testing and refer an individual to a specialist if necessary.

Home remedies, such as gargling salt water, using a humidifier, and avoiding smoking, may help soothe symptoms and aid recovery when someone loses their voice due to laryngitis.

Voice overuse, irritants, or an infection can cause laryngitis.

A person should contact their doctor if laryngitis does not resolve within a couple of weeks.