Voice Change - May Mean Trouble

World Voice Day is a worldwide annual event that takes place on April 16 devoted to the celebration of the phenomenon of voice. The aim is to demonstrate the enormous importance of the voice in the daily lives of all people.

Voice Change - May Mean Trouble

We are almost 8 billion people across the globe, but amazingly everyone has a different voice, we use our voice to sing, shout, murmur, laugh, groan mimic etc. Professionals like Singers, Teachers, Salesman, Radio jockey, are solely dependent on this voice. Many of us take our voice for granted and ignore it. Our voice can say a lot about our health.

1. Why do we have change in voice?

Usually we have two muscles (vocalis) which help us to produce voice; they are called as vocal cords. Any change in shape or function of vocal cords will cause a change of voice.

2. What are the reasons for voice change?

There are many causes for voice change. Most common causes are.

  • Cough, cold, throat infection (laryngitis), upper respiratory tract infection
  • Professional changes - for singers, lawyers, teachers, people who use voice excessively in different pitches may develop vocal cord lesions
  • Voice over usage
  • Having issues with digestion can cause reflux leading to change of voice
  • Neurological issues - vocal cord paralysis
  • Malignancy in throat (throat cancer)

3. When should I be concerned about my voice problem?

If your voice does not return to its normal within 2 - 3 weeks, even after following tips to maintain healthy voice, you are supposed to meet an ENT specialist at the earliest to get evaluated and find the cause for change in voice

4. How do I know I have a voice problem?

Well you may not need to know, others will tell you about your change in voice or else just ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you lost the ability to go on high pitch while singing on group conversations?
  • Do people around you ask if you have cold, cough or not feeling well, in fact you don't feel so?
  • Do you clear your throat too often?
  • Do you have any difficulty in breathing while talking?
  • Do you feel dryness or a strain in your throat while speaking?
  • Do you feel your voice has become raspy or hoarse?

You may need to meet a specialist if you have a yes to the questions above.

5. What can I do to maintain healthy voice?

  • - First and foremost do not abuse voice
  • - Do not shout, yell, and scream, habitually
  • - Do not whisper, or misuse your voice
  • - Drink water to keep throat hydrated
  • - Avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking, chewing of tobacco
  • - Don't clear your throat too often
  • - Avoid mouth breathing
  • - Don't talk when you have a hoarse voice, please give it rest.

Article by Dr. Niraj Joshi, MBBS., M.D (Phy) D.L.O., F.A.G.E,
Senior Consultant - ENT Head and Neck Surgery,
Kauvery Hospital

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