Do you ever get hoarse? Have you ever completely lost your voice? Do you tend to lose your voice when you get a cold? Have you ever wondered if there is a way to quickly heal hoarseness or avoid getting hoarse in the first place?
What happens when you lose your voice and why does it happen?
If you were to search for help regarding hoarseness or lost voice on the internet, or ask your ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor) or laryngologist, you would learn that acute hoarseness and loss of voice could be due to factors such as bacterial or viral infection, allergies, acid reflux, smoking and vocal abuse. You may be diagnosed with terms such as laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, strep throat etc. Laryngitis simply means that there is an inflammation of the larynx – ie swelling. Inflammation can be due to viral infection, bacterial infections, acid reflux, vocal abuse etc.
An ENT would treat a bacterial infection with antibiotics and would also prescribe rest and silence. From other sources you may be advised to drink lemon tea, herbal tea, tea with honey, chicken soup, cough drops, throat lozenges, etc.
What if you found out that the allergies, infection, acid reflux, illness or other difficulties did not cause hoarseness?
What really happens when you lose your voice?
In simple terms, your voice is produced when your vocal cords, or vocal folds, come together and vibrate. If they can not do that, you can not make a sound. Some days, when your voice starts toaken, what do you do? You try harder, because it takes more and more exertion to produce sound. In doing so, you use muscles that would not normally be used on an average given day.
To maintain the body's equilibrium, the body has the ability to compensate – when you get an infection, the body produces the heat of a fever to fight it. Muscles compensate as well. For example, if you hurt your foot, you walk differently, with a limp.
When your voice becomes irritated, compensatory muscles kick into action, while you, desperate to produce sound, use more and more effort, resulting in more muscle tension and worsening any potential inflammation. The tension and sometimes the swing become so separate that the vocal cords are unable to adduct, or come together, therefore they can no longer vibrate. The result? You've lost your voice. Swelling could be involved, which may have gotten worse because of the extra effort to speak or sing, but oftentimes, swelling is not the primary trouble.
A lost voice is often a tension / cramping condition that can be eased very quickly, and almost like magic, the voice can produce sound again. Also keep in mind that people with trained voices develop such an awareness of their instrument that when starting to feel under the weather, they know the best way to warm up and keep the voice performing.
They know how to produce sound without having to add extra effort and tension, and without increasing swapping of sensitive tissues. They also know when it is time to employ the proper exercises to free the tension and create vibration … and when it's best to be silent! A well-trained speaker or singer knows how to protect the body from irritants and infections, and how to recover quickly when the voice has had too much. Basically, a trained speaker / singer learns the signs before the voice "goes out," and there before is able to prevent hoarseness in the first place.
When it's a good day, we can get away with anything … when it's a bad day, we need our skills. Functioning is difficult when we're attacked by irritations, so remember, if you keep your body healthy, it will not succumb quite as easily to bacteria and viruses. The same holds true for the healthy, strong voice. Develop awareness of your voice, learn what to do in certain situations, and the occurrences of hoarseness or losing your voice will become rarer and rarer.