How to Prevent Hoarseness (Dysphonia)

What is Dysphonia?

Altered vocal quality, pitch, loudness, or vocal effort that impairs communication as assessed by a clinician and/or affects quality of life.

Who is at Greatest Risk for Developing Dysphonia (Hoarseness)?

Individuals who professionally use their voices such as singers, teachers, and call-center operators, certain age groups including children, older persons, and smokers.

What Preventive Measures Can Help Reduce Voice Disorders?

  • DO: Adequately hydrate by drinking plenty of water daily.
  • DO: Use of amplification (microphone or megaphone) in large noisy spaces can help reduce shouting and voice strain.
  • DO: Rest your voice briefly to prevent voice fatigue, straining, and overuse.
  • DO: Provide indoor air humidification in dry, arid environments.
  • AVOID: Smoking and second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes that can irritate your airway, throat, nose, and mouth.
  • AVOID: Overusing or straining your voice by yelling, shouting, speaking over loud noises, and whispering.
  • AVOID: Excessive throat clearing and coughing.
  • AVOID: Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) and caffeine beverages (coffee, soft drinks) as they can dry the throat resulting in mucous thickening.
  • AVOID: Use of drying medications (some antihistamines, diuretics).

Source:

Adapted from Stachler RJ, Francis DO, Schwartz SR et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Hoarseness (Dysphonia) (Update). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018; 158(1 Suppl):S1-S42.

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