Loss of voice (also called aphonia) may take several different forms. You may have a partial loss of your voice and it may sound hoarse. Or, you may have complete loss of your voice and it may sound like a whisper. Loss of voice can come on slowly or quickly depending on the cause.
is different from
aphasia, which is a language disorder.
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
The cause of your symptoms may not be obvious. You may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor. This doctor may use an instrument called a
to examine your vocal cords. Other tests may also be done to evaluate your voice function.
If your doctor is concerned that there may be a neurological or psychological cause, you may be referred to other specialists.
You can take the following steps to help ease laryngitis:
Rest your voice.
Use a cool mist humidifier.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as
Other treatments depend on the specific cause, such as:
Participating in voice therapy if your loss of voice is due to voice overuse
Taking medication to control acid reflux
Having surgery to remove growths
To help reduce your chance of aphonia:
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to
If you drink, limit your intake.
Limit your exposure to fumes and toxins.
Avoid talking a lot or yelling.
Learn vocal techniques from a voice therapist if you have to speak a lot for your job.
Get treatment for conditions that may cause loss of voice.
Casthely PA, Labagnara J. Hoarseness and vocal cord paralysis following coronary artery bypass surgery. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 1992;6(2):263-264.
Common problems that can affect your voice. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/common-problems-can-affect-your-voice. Accessed August 14, 2017.
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