Loss of voice: causes, duration, what to do?

Loss of voice is a symptom that can have many causes, including a viral infection of the larynx (vocal cords). Dr Marc Perez tells us what may be causing your loss of voice and how to treat it.

The causes of the loss of voice

L’loss of voice is a loss or less complete of the voice. “The voice is reached in its timbre, its pitch and its intensity”, specifies Dr Marc Perez, specialist in sports medicine and osteopathic doctor. The voice can be weak, hoarse, forced, veiled (this is dysphonia), or even absent (aphonia). This voice loss can be acute, repetitive or chronic.

The loss of high-pitched voice may be related to viral infection including laryngitis, nasopharyngitis (cold), allergy (to allergenic substances such as dust, chalk dust, pollen, etc.), intensive use of the larynx (for example after yelling during a football match or a concert), a traumatic tubing during anesthesia. “The other traumatic causes of a loss of voice are whiplash, a shock to the neck, damage to a nerve during thyroid surgery”, adds Dr Marc Perez. A psychological shock can also cause loss of voice.

Chronic voice loss may be due to laryngeal irritation in the context of smoking especially, or a combination tobacco and excess alcohol (the famous hoarse voice) or inhalation of toxic products or nasal sinus infections. The loss of voice can also signal benign lesions of the larynx such as nodules, polyps. Prolonged use of cortisone which dries up the lining of the vocal cords can cause a hoarse, weak voice. Gastroesophageal reflux disease can also be accompanied by loss of voice. The rise in gastric acidity can indeed irritate or ulcer the posterior part of the vocal cords.

More rarely, loss of voice is a warning sign of pharyngeal cancer, which most often occurs in people who smoke.

Loss of voice without pain, without fever

Voice extinctions that do not have an infectious cause are not accompanied by fever. Other causes of dysphonia oraphonie are not necessarily accompanied by pain. You may have an allergy, have strained your voice too much, or have exposed your larynx to irritants including tobacco. If you have loss of voice that persists for more than a week, you must consult.

Voice loss and Covid

“Covid can be a cause of infectious dysphonia but taste and smell disorders are more present than an extinction of voice among the symptoms”, informs Dr Marc Perez. If you experience loss of voice with associated signs like fever and cough your doctor may order a Covid test.

Duration of a voice loss

High-pitched voice extinction resolves in a few days with vocal rest and treatment if needed. When voice loss persists more than a week, this should give rise to additional examinations.

Voice loss: what to do?

“The extinctions of voices that have infectious causes are treated with corticosteroid sprays. Associated signs like fever and cough are treated as well. If it is an allergy, antihistamines are prescribed. In the event of trauma to the larynx, management is carried out manually in orthopedics, by massages and mobilization of the muscles of the neck and the cervical spine “, informs Dr Marc Perez.

“In case of’loss of voice after surgery, rehabilitation can be carried out with a speech therapist and / or a speech therapist and, if the problem is psychological, it is advisable to do psychotherapy or sophrology sessions. “

The benign tumors of the pharynx operate. Treatments for cancer of the pharynx can be surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy.

In terms of natural remedies, Dr. Marc Perez advises you (for high-pitched voice extinctions with an identified cause):

-On homeopathy, drosera 5CH 3 granules 3 times a day for 10 days

-On essential oils, breathe and apply eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils (mixed with vegetable oil, 3 drops of each externally on the neck) or use eucalyptol ampoules in boiling water to breathe

-On herbal medicine, drink thyme infusions or sage herbal teas. You can add honey to it which has a soothing effect.

-To take zinc blisters or capsules in case of infection or allergy and vitamin D3 in drops to strengthen immunity if the problem is of infectious origin.

When to consult?

If you present a persistent loss of voice, it is recommended to consult your doctor. The dysphonie is the first and for a long time the only sign of cancer of the larynx. “Beyond 8 days with vocal rest (speak less and less loudly) without improvement, it is advisable to consult an ENT directly for a laryngoscopy) “, recommends the doctor.

Sources :

– Acute speech disturbance. Dysphonia, French College of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery, 2014 campus.cerimes.fr

– Item 337. Acute speech disturbance. Dysphonia, ECN Bordeaux

– Interview Dr Marc Perez, sports medicine specialist and osteopathic doctor (May 2021)

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