More times than not, when you lose your voice it is because your larynx and vocal chords have become irritated. This makes the question at hand why did my throat area get irritated which will answer your question “why did I lose my voice?”.
How Old Are You?
If you are in your early teen years it could be that you’re going through puberty and your voice is dropping. If you notice your voice starting to crack, you probably are just experiencing the effects of an increase in testosterone. This is perfectly normal for a young teenage boy and while your voice dropping is a permanent effect, the loss of voice is not.
If you aren’t a teenager or experiencing voice cracking then there’s probably another reason that you have lost your voice.
Have You Been Yelling Lately?
One of the easiest ways to end up losing your voice is to be screaming a lot prior to losing your voice. If you were at a concert the night before or maybe a sporting event, this is probably the reason you have lost your ability to speak clearly.
By screaming, you put extra straight on the throat area that helps you speak. Screaming loud enough to lose your voice the next day could be damaging to your voice so be sure not to overdo it next time. You may love cheering on your favorite team but you probably love your voice a little bit more. Now that you’ve lost your voice you are starting to realize that.
Singing for long periods of time can also result in a loss of voice, especially if you find yourself straining to hit high or low notes often. It’s not uncommon for a choir singer to find themselves with less of a voice the morning after a rehearsal or concert.
Have You Traveled Lately? What’s Your Work Environment Like?
Traveling to a place that your sinus and rest of your body is not used to can end up with your voice getting irritated. Going to dry places like Phoenix, AZ. can quickly put a number on your voice. Be sure to use a humidifier if you have one.
Traveling on a plane results in a change of pressure. Your body can’t always adjust to this change and it is good practice to drink even more water than you usually do when traveling. Take some vitamin C to help build up your immune system when you travel and you will be killing two birds with one stone. Note only will this help you prevent getting sick it will also help prevent your throat from becoming irritated.
Polluted environments can also hurt the parts of your body that help produce your voice so try to stay away from smoggy places. If you work construction or in a place like downtown Chicago, your voice is prone to be damaged just from breathing in the air around you.
Are You Feeling Ill?
As discussed earlier, the loss of your voice is caused by irritation in the throat area. If you are sick then your irritation is probably caused by your illness. Bacteria and viruses can have a huge effect on your larynx and vocal chords and thus your ability to speak clearly will effected.
If you are feeling sick, especially in the throat area, Acute Laryngitis may be to blame. When feeling ill and discomfort in the throat area it is best to go to a doctor and get treated immediately. While the solution is usually as simple as taking antibiotics, you surely don’t want to postpone going to the doctor until you have done permanent damage to your voice.
Most of the time when you get sick there is no permanent damage done to the voice but not getting treatment for whatever your illness is in a timely manner could change this.
Are You a Smoker?
Smoking has negative effects on the voice which can lead to vocal loss. When you inhale smoke, your throat gets irritated whether you realize it or not. Sometimes this irritation is minimal but when you smoke often this damage tends to add up quite quickly. The best way to start healing your voice is to end the nasty habit once and for all but we know that isn’t always an option. If you can’t quit outright then at least try to limit your cigarette intake.
More Serious Possibilities
These are some of your worst case scenarios when you have a symptom of a lost voice:
- Vocal Chord Hemorrhage
- Vocal Chord Paralysis
- Vocal Chord Paresis
- Laryngeal Cancer
Some of these are more serious than the others as you have probably figured out already. Misuse of the voice could results in polyps forming in the throat area. If you suspect why you lost your voice has something to do with one of the five items on the above list you should speak to a doctor immediately. Time is your friend when treating these quickly but if you postpone treatment time will become your enemy just as quickly.
What Can I Do to Keep My Voice Healthy?
Maintaining a healthy voice is quite simple, really. Be sure to drink lots of water as this will help keep your throat lubricated. In doing so, you will also be keeping hydrated which helps prevent you from getting ill.
Limit the strain on your voice. That means that if you go out to a football game with your friends you try not to scream on every single down. At concerts sing along but remember that having a healthy voice is more important that yelling “I love you” to your favorite artist.
Do not “clear your throat” often as this actually damages your vocal chords. You would think that clearing your throat would be good for the vocal region but it instead has adverse effects. The best way to combat the thick mucus that is built up in your throat is to, again, drink lots of water. If the mucus persists you should consult a doctor because the solution can be as simple as taking a medication that will reduce the mucus build up.
As a general rule, if you feel like your voice has not improved in three days it is time to see a doctor as soon as you can. A general physician may be able to help but they will probably refer you to an ENT (Ear/Nose/Throat) doctor anyways. If you do not already have an ENT doctor it is time you get one as these 3 systems are all essential to living a healthy and happy life.