Candace lives in Tennessee with her husband and a bunch of furry creatures. She frequently experiences laryngitis.
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box, or larynx. The inflammation can result in either hoarseness or the total loss of voice. Laryngitis is usually caused by an infection, allergies, coughing, or overuse of the vocal cords. It can last a few days or a few weeks.
Those who suffer from frequent bouts of laryngitis know how difficult it can be to be without a voice. Finding a way to treat and prevent the symptoms can be challenging, as well.
Ways to Prevent/Treat Laryngitis
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep vocal cords moist.
- Drink hot tea or coffee, steam is good for clearing sinuses.
- Eat local honey, many believe the pollen in the honey acts as a homeopathic cure.
- Use a humidifier at night while sleeping to prevent dry throat. A crock pot with water also works to moisten the air.
- Wash bed linens regularly to cut down on allergens.
- Take antihistamines.
- Keep windows closed, especially at dawn and dusk, which is prime time for pollen and other allergens.
- Use throat lozenges.
- Gargle warm salt water.
- Breathe steam either with a hot shower or by holding your head over a pot of boiling water. Wrap a towel over your head to keep the steam in being careful not to burn yourself or the towel.
- Avoid straining your voice by talking loud or yelling. Whispering can also be hard on the vocal cords. Try to let your voice rest as much as possible.
- Antibiotics may be necessary if the cause of laryngitis is an infection.
- See a doctor if the condition persists more than a few days or a week.
- If you have chronic laryngitis, it could be acid reflux even if you don't have the symptoms of heartburn (called silent reflux). This could be the case if you cough up a lot of mucus in the mornings. It could also be vocal cord dysfunction that has similar symptoms as asthma and typically involves difficulty drawing breath in. Talk to your doctor to have your throat checked if you suspect one of these causes.
Several times a year I come down with laryngitis and lose my voice due to allergies or colds. Until your voice is gone, you don’t realize how much being able to speak is taken for granted. Life suddenly becomes very difficult just because I can’t talk.
Simple things like talking to cashiers and servers in restaurants become almost impossible. I can’t answer the phone because the person on the other line won’t be able to hear me. Communicating with coworkers and family becomes a chore.
I have to write down what I want to say, a process that takes much more time than just being able to say it. Even typing takes longer than just speaking. Written notes are usually misunderstood more because they are absent from the body signal clues. Communicating simple ideas becomes frustrating.
Strangers who try to talk to me either think I am dumb or rude because I’m not talking to them. I have had people think that I was mute and try to use sign language. It seems silly to wear a “I have laryngitis” sign taped to me.
I also end up having to depend on others to speak for me. My husband orders for me at restaurants. Coworkers answer my phone calls. I don’t say all that I want to say because of the difficulty of non-verbal communication.
Being voiceless for even a short period of time makes me appreciate free and easy communication. Imagine not being able to speak at all. Not being understood is a tragedy that I thankfully only have to suffer temporarily.
I also think about people who have no say in the world around them. There are many voices in the world that are silenced. Having a voice but not being able to use it is because of oppression would be a torment of another source.
Being able to say what I want, even if it is a voice of dissension is a blessing. Being able to speak and laugh and talk to those around me is something I know longer take for granted. Sore throats can make a person grateful just to have a voice.
Vocal Cord Dysfunction
Information on the signs and symptoms and treatment of laryngitis.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Camersh on May 07, 2017:
I have just gotten laryngitis for the 4th time in a year!
Melissa on December 18, 2014:
I'm a teacher and my students like to share everything with me! I can barely talk to them at this point.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on March 12, 2014:
Sam - Misdiagnosis does happen, but typically, the problem is not going to be as serious as cancer. It's important to tell your doctor about any symptoms you are having and to follow up if you aren't feeling better.
sam on March 10, 2014:
Please beware if diagnosed with this condition that you have not been misdiagnosed. My mum was diagnosed with this for 6 months in actual fact it was cancer. She had it in her throat, lungs, stomach and spread to the brain. The doctor missed other symptoms such as bloating, cough, backpain from the stomach cancer.Also a neighbour also in her sixties was told laryngitis and she too had lung cancer. Just be aware of other symptoms with a sore throat, cough, hoarseness etc. If you think something is wrong, please get a second opinion. I lost my mum when it may have been prevented.
s waters on November 26, 2013:
I am a psychiatrist and this is the second time in 6 years that I have had laryngitis , the first lasting 2 months! Needless to say its simply frustrating and you almost don't know when to try and speak for fear of undoing what's been gained! Terrible ! Especially when you realise what you have just lost !
Rochelle on November 10, 2013:
This is my third time having Laryngitis this year. After many years of this I have come to accept that speaking is a privilege and should not be taken for granted. Working in customer service you have to try finding other ways to communicate. The worst is people who tell you not to speak...
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on November 18, 2012:
margaret - It is awful to have laryngitis and still have to go to work. It is tough to have to write down everything you want to say or try to squeak out replies.
margaret on November 15, 2012:
feel so bad that I cant' communicate in the office,and struggle to talk...
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on August 02, 2012:
ADDiane - Being without your voice is terrible! It is so hard to do normal things we take for granted.
ADDiane on July 02, 2012:
I've had laryngitis several times in my life and the worst was hosting a bbq with friends then attending a baseball game - it sucked not being able to cheer on my baseball team or gossip with my friends!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on February 09, 2012:
volafox - It is definitely tough to be without a voice. Good luck with target practice and hope you voice is back soon.
volafox on February 08, 2012:
As a woman who worked in a parts house, I would usually get picked on when I lost my voice at the same time each year. The men soon realized that my aim with small hard objects grows more accurate in relation to how quiet I become! Come to think about it, my ex husband gave me plenty of practice....now here I am again years later, and I've a good case of something that has given me Laryngitis for the first time in a long while. Time to get back into practice!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on October 15, 2011:
Jodi- we definitely take our voices for granted. It is so hard to communicate when you have laryngitis. Plus the irritated throat. Hope you get your voice back soon.
Jodi on October 15, 2011:
I to suffer from Laryngitis at least twice a year. I actually have it right now. It is horrible not being able to speak. It really makes you realize how sometimes you take things for granted.