How to Get Your Voice Back

Three Parts:Having Healthy BehaviorsEating and Drinking BetterUsing Products to Soothe

Losing your voice can be a major inconvenience and can be caused by the straining of your voice or more serious medical conditions. Many vocalists and other individuals who use their voices at a high volume for extended periods of time lose their voices from time to time. If your loss of voice is caused by something other than an excessive and temporary use of your voice, visit a physician about your condition. If your loss of voice is caused by the temporary straining or over-use of your voice, you can quicken your recovery in a few of these steps.

Part 1
Having Healthy Behaviors

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    Rest your voice for as long as possible. Simply talking at a normal volume can place undo strain on vocal chords that can cause a delay in your overall recovery time. Of course, certain situations necessitate speaking. Limiting the use of your vocal chords can help to speed up the healing process, so try not to speak at all.
    • Whispering is a no-no. It's unnatural and actually puts more strain on your vocal folds.
    • Keep a pad and paper with you to write down what you need to relay to others. This might actually be quite fun!
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    Gargle with saltwater. Gargling hydrates your throat, softens your vocal chords and speeds the process of restoring your voice. There are over-the-counter mouthwashes you may select to gargle that can also help kill bacteria in your throat that may be causing your voice loss.
    • If you zap a cup of water in the microwave, make sure the water isn't too hot -- the last thing you want is to literally scorch the lining of your throat.
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    Warm up your body with yoga. Your voice is ultimately part of your body, so if you want to warm up your voice, warm up your entire being. Yoga is a great way to become aware of your body and start cuing your diaphragm to action. If you're not super sick, it's a good way to get loose (if you are super sick, you might want to stay in bed!).
    • Here's a good exercise to get your diaphragm working: Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Make sure they're slightly apart. Place your hands on the knees and, with arms stretched out straight, inhale deeply through your nose. Exhale strongly through your mouth. Bring your hands to your knees and press them firmly, spreading your fingers wide apart. Look up, stretch the tongue out and vocalize a lion’s roar – a loud, open “ahhh” sound. Make sure this sound is coming from your diaphragm and not your throat![1]
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    Utilize the power of steam. It's all about hydration, really. If you can have water in and around you, you'll be well-off. If a hot, steamy shower isn't up your alley at the moment, bring a pot of water to a boil and place your head over it. Throw a towel on top of your head to keep the steam swirling around your sinus cavity.
    • Stay in that position for a few minutes. You should start to feel your sinuses clearing (if you have a cold, of course). Repeat this as often as you'd like.
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    Quit smoking. If it hasn't already been drilled into you years ago, smoking is absolutely terrible for all aspects of your health, including your voice. Talk about drying out your esophagus! You might as well be charring your vocal folds.
    • Just in case you were wondering, quitting smoking is cheaper, is better for those around you, cuts your risk of heart disease and lung and bladder cancer, and makes all levels of exercise much, much easier.
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    Visit your doctor. If you simply sang karaoke a few too many times last night, you probably don't have too much to worry about in the scheme of things. However, if you woke up one day a week ago and haven't spoken since, that's cause for alarm. Visit your doctor to see what's going on.
    • Generally speaking, anything more than a few days warrants a doctor's visit. It's always better to be cautious than stubborn. And if it's accompanied with other symptoms (coughing, fever, etc.) definitely pay him/her a visit.

Part 2
Eating and Drinking Better

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    Drink plenty of water. Keep your body well-hydrated while restoring your voice. Increasing your fluid intake helps your throat produce a healthy amount of moisture and restores voice functions. Moisture is key to getting your voice back.
    • What's the opposite of water? Alcohol. It drys out your throat and leaves your entire body dehydrated. If you want to get your voice back anytime soon, you'll need to avoid it.
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    Avoid acidic food and drinks. Acidic foods and beverages such as tea, citrus fruit and chocolate do not have any direct, positive effect on the vocal chords but do promote acid reflux (a very bad thing). Acid reflux can worsen the inflammation and exacerbate voice loss. The best way to rid of foreign substances and bacteria which may be prolonging the voice loss is to drink plenty of clean water.
    • You heard right: tea is acidic and acidic things are bad for the lining of your esophagus.[2] The people that swear by it probably swear by it because it makes them feel better. It's rather soothing, but it doesn't necessarily help the actual problem.
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    Keep your liquids warm. Alright, since you're probably not only going to be drinking water, whatever you do drink, keep it warm. You don't want it too cold or too hot -- both have adverse affects on the lining of your throat. And if you are drinking tea (let's face it, you probably are), honey is okay.
    • Curious about milk? Dairy products will coat your throat. This can be soothing, but it just covers up the problem and it will return shortly. If you're performing, be sure not to consume dairy in the hours before your performance.

Part 3
Using Products to Soothe

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    Visit your local pharmacy. There are at least a half a dozen products out there that claim to have some magical effect on voices. Emergen-C, Friar's Balsam, slippery elm, and Lemsip are just four products that claim to get the voice going again. If you're hard up for a magical answer, one of these may work for you.
    • But just for the record, water, water, water, water and vocal rest is really the best solution. Don't depend on these for a miracle.
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    Use lozenges or cough drops to dull the pain. A change in weather or a dry environment can irritate the throat. Because of this, providing moisture can help soothe this irritation. The use of cough drops or other lozenges are effective ways to keep your throat lubricated.
    • Even chewing gum can help a dry mouth. The more you stay lubricated and hydrated, the better off you'll be.
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    Invest in a humidifier. Especially if a dry environment is the cause of the vocal irritation, this can also help resolve this issue. It's similar to throwing your head over a steaming pot of water, but more like the pot of water is circulating throughout the entire room.
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    Address the actual issue. Often losing your voice is a symptom of a larger problem. If you have a cough, cold or sore throat, address that instead of just your lost voice. You'll find that your voice will come back when you get on antibiotics, start filling up on vitamin C, feed that cold, or starve that fever.


  • See a doctor if your voice does not come back within a few days. The extended loss of your voice could be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires medical attention.
  • If you do not feel that you have excess mucus, do not drink warm liquids. Sore throat is actually the result of inflamed vocal chords. Your vocal chords react similarly to other parts of your body. For example, if your ankle is swollen, you put ice on it, but if it's just achy, you put heat on it. This is because cold slows down circulation and helps with swelling, while heat increases circulation and inflammation. If sore throat is unaccompanied by mucus, you should drink cool liquids to help decrease the swelling in your vocal chords.

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Categories: Conditions and Treatments