WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A HOARSE VOICE?
It is very important for people who use their voice often or who rely on their voice for their occupation to have excellent vocal quality at all times. This means that your voice sounds clear and powerful. If you use your voice a lot (overuse/abuse), you can become very hoarse and speaking becomes difficult, painful, and inconvenient, leading to more permanent voice problems if left untreated.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to prevent or alleviate these issues. However, if you do become acutely hoarse, the first step is to see your Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.
The top reasons one would experience a decline in vocal quality include:
- Vocal abuse
- Vocal misuse
- Acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
An example of vocal abuse is yelling at a sporting event or loud concert. Abuse can occur just from one event but is obviously pronounced if the event occurs often (like the coach of a football team yelling for an entire season). Vocal misuse is improper use of voice or projecting from the wrong place. [Example?] Overuse is self-explanatory – just using your voice A LOT. And acid reflux or GERD is generally diagnosed by a doctor and treated with medicine. Symptoms often subside and vocal quality improves once the medicine takes effect. All of these reasons would be addressed with your Speech Pathologist and he/she will have a treatment plan specific to your needs.
In the meantime…some things to consider are:
Short term voice rest is a great way to kick start the healing process. It allows the vocal cords some time to recover from all the usage.
Believe it or not, whispering is worse than speaking. It puts more strain on the vocal cords and can do more harm.
Use a humidifier
When the vocal cords are dry, it is harder for them to move because they are stiff. The humidifier provides moisture for them to move in a more fluid-like fashion.
Drinking water and keeping the vocal cords hydrated allows for better vocal quality. When the vocal cords are less stiff vocal quality improves significantly.
If your hoarseness persists, you should consider seeing an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist and a Speech Pathologist to help use your voice to its full potential