Ever cleared your throat to speak only to find nothing but a whisper emerges? It's a startling experience, and while many of us have dealt with the temporary inconvenience of laryngitis, there can be a variety of causes behind losing your voice.
Board-certified ENT providers, Charles Greene, MD, PhD, and Tara Condrey, PA-C, at Jacksonville ENT Surgery in Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida, routinely help patients of all ages navigate the complexities of their vocal health.
If you’re struggling with a missing voice, it’s important to see your ENT provider for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. In the meantime, keep reading to learn about some common causes that make us lose our voice and the therapies that can help.
1. Infection-related inflammation
Imagine waking up with a hoarse voice, throat pain, and perhaps even a fever. It's not just the result of cheering on your favorite team the night before; it might be a type of inflammation called laryngitis.
An inflammation of the voice box, this condition can come about due to a cold, the flu, or excessive voice use. As your vocal cords swell, they can't vibrate properly, changing how your voice sounds or making it vanish temporarily.
2. Acid reflux
Have you ever felt a persistent cough or an uncomfortable sensation, almost like something was stuck in your throat? Maybe it was accompanied by a mild burning sensation.
Surprisingly, losing your voice can be due to acid reflux. Reflux laryngitis develops when acid escaping from your stomach journeys up to your throat, irritating the vocal cords and leading to a temporary loss or change in voice.
3. Vocal “abuse”
After a prolonged period of speaking or shouting, have you felt your voice become strained or breathy? Maybe you've experienced pain while talking, or you've found your vocal range to be decreased.
Vocal abuse (overusing or straining your voice) can lead to these symptoms. Repetitive vocal abuse can result in chronic voice issues and should not be taken lightly. Talk to your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider for tips on how to save your voice.
4. Vocal cord paralysis
Feeling breathless or having difficulty changing pitch while speaking? Maybe you've even choked on your food a couple of times. These symptoms can arise from vocal cord paralysis.
This happens when the nerve impulses to your vocal cords get disrupted. This can be due to reasons ranging from injury and stroke to other medical conditions. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment if this sounds familiar.
For those who smoke, chronic hoarseness, persistent coughing, and regular throat irritation might be familiar sensations. These are signs that the smoke is affecting your vocal cords, leading to inflammation and even growths over time. The repercussions on the voice are just a few among the many reasons to consider quitting smoking!
6. Nodules, polyps, or cysts
A constant hoarseness, the sensation of a lump when you swallow, or difficulty in swallowing might hint at growths on the vocal cords.
Whether it's nodules from long-term irritation, polyps or cysts from vocal abuse, or in rare cases, tumors, these growths can majorly impact the voice. Your Jacksonville ENT Surgery provider can diagnose your condition and create a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs.
Seeking help for your voice
If you've experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above — especially if they persist — it's important to consult an ENT specialist at Jacksonville ENT Surgery. The complex relationship of your larynx, vocal cords, and ability to communicate means getting prompt attention for voice changes is paramount for your vocal health.
The good news is that different therapies can help improve your vocal health and restore your “missing” voice. The right treatment depends on your unique needs and may range from simple voice rest and therapy, medications to reduce inflammation, lifestyle changes, or even surgery in cases with growths.
Concerned about your voice or vocal health? Don’t wait to schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Jacksonville ENT Surgery in Lake City or Jacksonville, Florida.