Laryngitis: How to protect your voice

Laryngitis

Have you ever wondered what happens to someone’s voice when they say they lost it? Have you woke up and your voice been scratchy or sound funny when you talk? You might have even spoke and not all the words come out or it sound like a bunch of frog croaks.

Here we will explain how and why this happens sometimes.

How Your Voice Works

Open your mouth and say anything you like. You can say anything like what ice cream is your favorite.

The larynx (Lair-inks) is the voice box and is located above the trachea (Tray-kee-uh). Two muscles in Larynx called vocal cords make up the voice box. Your vocal cords allow air to come and go as you breath by relaxing, allowing for air to get into your lungs.

When you begin to speak, the vocal cords tighten and come together allowing air to flow through a smaller hole. The vocal cords vibrate from the airflow and the vibration flows up the throat and out of the mouth. Listen as you speak the words you chose to speak.

If you tense, relax or lengthen and shorten the vocal cords you can make all kinds of different sounds. When you talk and it comes out deeper you are relaxing and lengthening the vocal cord muscles. If you speak and it comes out at a higher pitch than you have tightened your vocal cords making them smaller. Go ahead and try it. Make your voice higher and lower and then back again. If you really think about it as you talk or make noises you can feel any vibrations that are caused by the tightening and loosing of the vocal muscles.

Laryngitis and Its Cause

When you become sick and your vocal cords become swollen and inflamed, they won’t work correctly. The swollen cords will not allow for air to pass through easily and your voice will be hoarse. This is what they call laryngitis (lair-in-jYe-tis).

Laryngitis is more common with screaming and yelling kids. From yelling at their brother or sister or cheering at the game of your favorite team when they score a touchdown! You might have to talk loudly over a group of kids that are being noisy to get their attention. Singing loudly can also cause laryngitis by irritating the vocal cords.

It might sound weird but even your stomach can cause you to get laryngitis. There are two tubes that branch off from the throat. One allows air flow to the lungs the other allows food to the stomach. Stomach acid that normally helps to break down food can flow up the tube for food and cause irritation to the vocal cords.

Smoking or even allergies can trigger an irritated reaction to the vocal cords. People who smoke a lot typically have raspy and rough voices.

Laryngitis can also be caused by an infection caused by germs to both kids and adults. Viruses cause irritation most of the time but sometimes a bacterial infection can affect the vocal cords, like those caused by the flue or runny nose. This is why when you get a cold and have a cough your voice also will begin to sound off.

Kids and adults both who yell a lot or talk loudly can irritate their vocal cords. Over time all the yelling may cause nodules to develop on the vocal cords. This can cause a deeper hoarse, and rough voice.

How to tell if you have Laryngitis

The first sign to laryngitis is typically a raspy or hoarse voice. You could also lose your voice completely or it may come and go in little squeaky sounds. You may have a tickle in the back of your throat you just can’t scratch or you may just need to clear your throat with a cough. Laryngitis may show all of these signs and can last a few days, bit if the irritation lasts longer you may want to see your doctor.

Can It be Prevented?

When you talk try not to raise your voice. Using a humidifier will also help by keeping the air moist so that your throat does not dry out. Not smoking and even keeping away from those who do will also help a lot.

When you go to tell everyone “goodnight” tonight you will now know how you produced those words. If your voice send out only a squeak or gets real low than you can lay there and ponder if you might have laryngitis or not.

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Last Reviewed:
January 25, 2017
Last Updated:
October 20, 2017
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