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How to Get Your Voice Back

Chandramita Bora
Loss of voice is undoubtedly a very uncomfortable condition. It occurs when the vocal cords are strained or irritated. However, it is possible to get your voice back with some simple measures, which are discussed in this Story.
Losing your voice can be a really uncomfortable and annoying experience. The medical term for loss of voice is aphonia, which can be partial or complete. Partial loss of voice is characterized by hoarseness, while in case of complete loss of voice, your voice may sound like a whisper. Voice is produced by the vocal folds or vocal cords, located above the windpipe.
Vocal cords are basically folds of mucous membrane in the larynx, that vibrate to make sounds and thereby, enable us to speak. When air passes over the vocal folds, it vibrates them and as a result, a sound is produced. To produce a sound properly, the vocal folds need to be well-moisturized or lubricated, so that they can vibrate rapidly and close fully.
Any sort of inflammation and irritation of the vocal cords can impair their ability to vibrate properly, which can manifest in complete or partial loss of voice. However, this problem often resolves within a few days with proper care.

Reasons Behind Losing Your Voice

You can lose your voice when the vocal cords are strained or irritated. Several factors can irritate or strain the vocal cords, to cause voice loss and hoarseness. More commonly, it occurs when the vocal folds get damaged by an infection. A sore throat, cold or flu, and laryngitis, are some of the common conditions that can cause aphonia.
Laryngitis can be acute or chronic. Acute laryngitis can be caused by viral infections and overuse of voice, while chronic laryngitis can be associated with acid reflux disease, post nasal drip, chronic sinusitis, smoking, and exposure to dust, fumes, and chemicals. Apart from these, factors like, excessive shouting or screaming can also strain the vocal cords and cause voice loss.

How to Get Your Voice Back?

Vocal Rest
If you have lost your voice due to cold, laryngitis, a sore throat, or simply because of excessive yelling or shouting, then give your vocal cords some rest. Do not make attempts to speak or communicate verbally, unless it is really important. Do not try to whisper as well, as it can also strain your vocal cords.
Drink More Fluid
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps keep the larynx hydrated and promote fast healing. However, do not drink too hot or cold water. Instead, drink warm water and fluid, like soup.
Herbal Tea
Herbs like thyme and chamomile can help soothe inflammation of the throat. So, thyme and chamomile tea may provide some relief in this condition. Even ginger root tea might prove beneficial for relieving hoarseness of voice.
Honey can help you regain your voice. You can add honey to warm water or fluid and then drink it. You can also add honey to sweeten your herbal tea and make it more effective for getting your voice back. Another home remedy for voice loss and laryngitis is lemon juice, mixed with warm water and honey.
Humidify the Air
Humidifying the air with a vaporizer or humidifier can help keep your vocal cords well-hydrated. A humidifier helps maintain the moisture level in the air and hence, can prove very effective in keeping your vocal cords hydrated, especially if a dry environment is the cause of vocal cord irritation.
Inhale Steam
Steam can help soothe inflamed and strained vocal cords. You can either go for a hot shower, or inhale steam from a bowl, filled with hot water. Both will help keep your vocal cords moist and speed up the recovery process.
Gargling your throat with warm water will help soften your vocal cords, along with hydrating them. If voice loss is caused by cold or a sore throat, then saline water gargling is an effective home remedy for it. It will increase the supply of blood to the area and reduce the infection quickly.
Cough Drops or Lozenges
You can also use cough drops or lozenges to get relief from a scratchy or sore throat. They can help soothe a sore throat, by providing moisture and lubrication.

Things to Avoid

✘ Limit the intake of caffeinated beverages, like coffee, tea, and colas, until you get your voice back. These beverages dehydrate the body.
Stop smoking, as it can further irritate your throat and make it dry. Even passive smoking can irritate the larynx and slow down the entire process of healing.
Abstain from alcohol till your throat is completely healed, as it can dehydrate the body and aggravate the problem.
Avoid those places, where you can get exposed to dust, smoke, cold air, and other irritants.
Do not use decongestants, as they can dry out the vocal folds.
If all these measures fail to provide relief, then talk to your physician to find out and treat the underlying cause of voice loss. Rarely, voice loss or hoarseness that does not go away, can be associated with a serious condition, like cancer of the voice box. So, if you are suffering from persistent hoarseness of voice, then it is better to get the condition medically evaluated, to rule out the possibility of any serious underlying health problem.
Disclaimer: This Story is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.