Why do I lose my voice so often?
September 19, 2017 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Every time one of my kids passes on a cold to me(and that happens multiple times during Autumn/Winter/Spring) I lose my voice. Why?

It's really annoying.
The kid has a runny nose - I lose my voice. The kid has a stubborn cough - I lose my voice.

I never used to have that problem before having kids. (Maybe once every couple of years.)

I have a talking job, damnit! Can I prevent this?
posted by Omnomnom to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I wish I had an easy answer, but I do have a suggestion. I've seen a lot of ear, nose, and throat doctors for problems re: nerve damage in my throat. One thing they did in the beginning was put a camera up my nose that dropped down to my vocal cords. That way they could watch exactly what was going on when I was talking and when I made a variety of sounds. We could see that it was actually taking me a lot of effort to make voice and they had a speech therapist there who helped me with techniques to make voice more efficiently. If you're open to trying that and think there might be a good ENT near you, it might be worth getting an appointment so they can see if they can pinpoint the problem. I hope you find a solution.
posted by mermaidcafe at 2:36 PM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have the same problem, and have had it my whole life. Several primary care physicians and two ENTs have shrugged and says "it happens." I chug Throat Coat tea with honey and lemon whenever I'm sick, and it helps a little bit, but mostly I just try to rest my voice as much as possible whenever I'm sick so it's still there when I do need it.
posted by erst at 2:40 PM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

a singing teacher I spoke to when I had lost my voice advised me to use a higher register for speaking when I was starting to get sick/be in danger of losing my voice. It noticeably helped.
posted by jojobobo at 3:04 PM on September 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

agree with both of those points, and I also recommend two other things that have helped me with viruses that take my voice or descend into my chest and become bronchitis:

1) NETI pot, frequently -- clears out stuff that has gotten into your nose and sinuses, and also clears out some of what otherwise drips down the back of your throat.

2) get a hot pad, like designed for sore muscles, and put it on your chest/throat when it first starts to feel rough -- feels great in the short term, and I suspect it either kills whatever's in there or just keeps the secretions from thickening up, because this addition has saved me in the last couple of years, and it also helps my kid. (get a separate hot pad for them, though, to keep the Gross Germies at bay!)

good luck! I feel your pain!
posted by acm at 4:12 PM on September 19, 2017

the irritation from postnasal drip is hitting your larynx and inflaming it. (In my experience this happens just at the start of a cold, or sometimes if it's going to be a mild one. In the later days of a really bad cold the crud is too thick to drip and my voice is fine, if nasal.)

Salt water gargle helps the most, but is the most disgusting to administer.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:44 PM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I take friar's balsam when I'm starting to have throat problems. It prevents laryngitis, or at least makes it go away quicker (the faster you take it when symptoms come on, the better it works).
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:32 PM on September 19, 2017

Depends on the cause. Could be post nasal drip. Could be that you have silent reflux that makes you vulnerable to damage. Could be a vocal technique issue, compounded with your talking job. To find out more you would need to see ENT and possibly a speech therapist to work on voice care and technique.
posted by kadia_a at 1:09 AM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a larynx that is prone to infection, particularly if I've had a sinus infection or if I've been around someone with a particularly virulent cold. The salt water gargle helps, the hot water with lemon and honey helps (as does just eating giant globs of honey Winnie-the-Pooh style), using a clean humidifier REALLY helps, and staying silent as much as possible helps, too. Once I actually descend into full laryngitis, however, I have been advised to speak in as low a register as possible rather than rasp or whisper -- apparently it stresses your vocal chords less and doesn't exacerbate the infection/inflammation going on elsewhere in your throat.
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:55 PM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

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