Questions Your Healthcare Provider May Ask
When you visit your healthcare provider, she will first take a careful history. Some of the questions they may ask include:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Is your hoarseness continuous or do you notice it on and off?
- Have you had any symptoms of a “head cold,” such as a runny nose, fever, or a cough, or have you had an illness such as tonsillitis or mononucleosis?
- Have you strained your voice in any way, for example by cheering for your favorite football team or singing too long or too loudly?
- Do you, or have you ever, smoked?
- Do you drink alcohol?
- Do you have allergies or eczema?
- What other medical conditions do you have?
- Have you experienced any heartburn, unexplained weight loss, persistent cough, coughing up blood, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, weakness in any part of your body or felt a lump in your neck?
- Do you or any family members have a history of thyroid problems? Have you experienced any weight gain, constipation, or fatigue?
- What medical conditions run in your family?
Can Mucus In Throat Cause Hoarseness
mucus can get into your throat from the back of your nose. If you have an allergy, smoke or have a cold, this can happen. It makes you cough and can make you have a bad nose. When to see your GP If your symptoms are severe, you may be referred to a GP.
They may refer you to an otolaryngologist or a doctor who specialises in the treatment of rhinosinusitis. Your GP will ask you about your medical history and any other symptoms youve had. You may also be asked to complete a short questionnaire to help them decide whether you should see a specialist or not.
If you are referred, the GP may suggest that you see another GP for a follow-up appointment.
Can Hay Fever Cause Laryngitis
Laryngitis often stems from other illnesses like colds and flu. As hay fever presents a lot of the same symptoms as common colds postnasal drip, congestion, and sore throat hay fever can also develop into laryngitis in extreme cases.
The symptoms of laryngitis are hoarseness, voice loss, and a dry, scratchy throat. These can all be caused by allergies.
Laryngitis is the medical term for an inflamed voice box. If you suffer from hay fever, your vocal cords will swell when pollen enters your airways. This swelling could turn into laryngitis in severe cases.
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How Cold Flu And Allergy Symptoms Can Hurt Your Voice
Many athletes think its perfectly fine to push through injury, even if it hurts. Of course thats not usually a smart decision. Vocal athletes are on the same playing field if you push your voice when you have a cold, the flu, or allergy symptoms, youre risking permanent damage to your vocal cords.
Vocal athletes are people who use their voices for more than just casual conversation. These people are teachers, call center employees, ministers, public speaking professionals, singers, and more. When you depend on your voice to make a living, its important to protect it from damage.
How Allergies Can Wreak Havoc On Your Voice
Seasonal allergies have been wreaking havoc this spring, thanks to the high pollen counts across much of the U.S. While many allergy sufferers nationwide are experiencing typical allergy symptoms like congestion, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes, some are also dealing with a lesser-known symptom — an impaired voice.
Allergies can affect the voice in various ways. When you inhale pollen, exposure to allergens can cause direct inflammation of the vocal folds. In addition, coughing and postnasal drip can irritate the vocal folds, and restricted lungs and an inflamed nose can also alter the voice.
However, it’s not just the allergies themselves that affect the voice — commonly used allergy medications can also have a negative effect. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as fexofenadine and cetirizine are easy to obtain and have been used to treat allergies for years. Absorbed through your entire system, these drugs can dry up the body’s mucus — and when it comes to the voice, that’s a problem.
The human body makes a liter or two of mucus a day, which helps maintain a thin protective layer over the vocal folds and keep them supple. If antihistamines dry up the mucus in your system, your vocal folds become dry and stiff like sandpaper, which means there’s extra abrasion when they vibrate. This can lead to inflammation and a raspy, strained voice that takes extra effort to use.
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S For Managing Your Sore Throat
The first step in managing your allergy-induced sore throats is visiting a professional. From there, we can determine the root cause of your allergy, and help you create a personalized plan for removing the trigger from your life and/or ways to manage your allergies when removing the trigger isnt a realistic solution.
Treatment For Postnasal Drip
Treatment for postnasal drip depends on the root cause.
For the cold or flu, the best thing you can do is rest, hydrate and wait for symptoms to resolve. While the chicken noodle soup cure is an old wives tale, consuming warm liquids do provide temporary relief by opening up a stuffy nose, thinning mucus and preventing dehydration.
Allergies can be treated with over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines. Long-term treatment solutions include allergy shots and allergy drops, which decrease your reaction to allergens over time.
Sinus infections and other bacterial infections may be treated with antibiotics.
Other solutions that may provide relief include using saline nasal sprays or irrigation to flush mucus and irritants out of the sinuses and nasal passages. Using a vaporizer or humidifier can increase the moisture in the air and thin mucus as well.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an ENT physician, call the experts at Hampton Roads ENT.
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Singing With Hay Fever
Fighting hay fever can feel like an endless battle especially if youre a singer and its impacting your voice. But hay fever doesnt have to stop you singing. You can keep hoarse, congested tones at bay during allergy season with a few simple techniques:
- Detox clean living can boost your whole bodys immunity, and help your system stay strong against allergens. Try drinking 8 glasses of water a day and a diet of whole foods and vegetables to give your body a fighting chance.
- Warmup preparing your vocal cords for singing is always important, but its especially vital when youre suffering from allergies. A good vocal warmup can help relax and prepare your vocal cords.
- Steam set up your own steamer at home by filling a bowl with hot water, putting your face over it and covering your head with a towel. Inhale deeply for 5 10 minutes and youll feel your nasal passages clear. You may feel silly, but your voice will thank you!
- Nasal cleansing if you rinse out your sinuses every day, you can stop congestion in your airways building up.
- Air purifiers filters can be a lifesaver if you suffer from pollen allergies. HEPA filters and other air purifiers will keep your home free from allergens and help you sleep at night.
Testing For Laryngeal Cancer
Your ENT specialist may also want to make sure your symptoms arent the result of laryngeal cancer.
Alcohol and tobacco are the two main things that can increase your risk of developing laryngeal cancer. The more you drink or smoke, the higher your risk of developing laryngeal cancer.
Laryngeal cancer is uncommon, but its important to confirm it or rule it out quickly because the sooner laryngeal cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment will be.
Tests your ENT specialist may recommend to check for laryngeal cancer include:
- computerised tomography scan a series of X-rays are taken and assembled by a computer into a more detailed 3D image of your throat
- magnetic resonance imaging scan strong magnetic fields and radio waves are used to produce detailed scans of the inside of your throat
- biopsy where a sample of tissue is taken during a laryngoscopy to check for the presence of cancerous cells
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Causes Of Childhood Hoarseness
Frequently, children with chronic hoarseness have a benignor noncancerouslesion on one or both vocal cords. These lesionsbumps or lumps that arise underneath or on the surface of vocal cordscan prevent the vocal cords from opening and closing properly and from vibrating normally, which can change the way that air moves through them to make a sound.
There are several types of benign vocal cord lesions. Vocal cord cysts, for instance, are fluid-filled growths that usually form beneath the vocal cords before a child is born. Nodules and polyps, much like calluses and blisters, arise on the surface of the vocal cord as a result of overusing the voice.
Repeated injury to the vocal cords from shouting or talking too much causes inflammation. Inflamed tissues may stiffen and form growths.
Some children develop hoarseness after being treated with a breathing tube during surgery, which can cause scarring of the vocal cords. Surgery in the neck or chest can also damage nerves in the larynx, partially or completely preventing the vocal cords from moving normally and affecting a childs ability to speak. This condition is known as vocal cord paresis, or paralysis.
Can Hay Fever Affect Your Voice
Allergies can target your sinuses, leaving you feeling stuffy and congested and giving you a headache whenever you try to perform. Sinus problems can massively affect the quality of your voice.
Sinusitis can also make it hard to sing. The infection is usually caused by bacteria or viruses and can irritate your vocal cords. You may feel too hoarse and stuffy to get on stage but singing can actually help sinusitis.
Humming exercises can help relieve congested sinuses and clear your voice. Many vocal coaches recommend humming phonation to heal your voice.
You can then progress to trying a vocal warm-up to clear your airways. If your voice is hoarse and strained, dont push it too hard as this can cause more permanent damage.
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What Is Laryngitis Common Laryngitis Symptoms
Laryngitis causes a hoarse voice or the complete loss of the voice because of irritation to the vocal cords. The vocal cords are inside of the larynx. They are vibrating elastic bands that produce your voice. When our vocal cords function normally, they open and close smoothly. Sounds are made through their movement and vibration. Laryngitis causes the vocal cords to become inflamed and swollen due to overuse. The vocal cords can also be affected by another health concern, like GERD or a viral infection, leading to the distortion of sounds and hoarseness.
There are other laryngitis symptoms, besides a hoarse and raspy voice. Other laryngitis symptoms include losing your voice completely, coughing, trouble swallowing, a dry or sore throat, a tickling, scratchiness in the throat, a constant urge to clear the throat, postnasal discharge and fever.
Most of the time, laryngitis symptoms will come on quickly and then disappear within two weeks. Its possible to develop chronic, long-lasting laryngitis. Chronic laryngitis lasts more than a few weeks. It tends to have a longer course and require treatment. According to research conducted at Boston Medical Center, up to 21 percent of the population may develop chronic laryngitis in their lifetime. Difficulty speaking, globus sensation , and pain are the most common symptoms of chronic laryngitis.
How Do You Treat Laryngitis From Allergies
By fixing your allergies, you can often improve your post-nasal drip and your laryngitis symptoms as well. While some over-the-counter medicines might provide temporary relief, sublingual immunotherapy is the best option for long-term allergy relief.
Sublingual immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops and tablets, introduces trace amounts of allergens to your body. Over time, your immune system becomes desensitized and stops reacting to the allergens. This can help improve your allergy symptoms and eventually get rid of them.
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How Can I Protect My Voice
So what can you do to protect your voice from allergens? The first thing is to avoid allergens and keep your home as allergen-free as possible. Keep your windows closed during peak pollen times. Wash your sheets in hot water once a week. Vacuum or run an air filter regularly.
If you still need medicine, use medicines that wont affect your mucus levels.
There are many treatment options for allergies, CEENTA Otolaryngologist S. Brett Heavner, MD, said. For professional voice users, topical medications like nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines seem to work better since they have less of a drying effect on the throat and voice.
Nasal steroid sprays such as Flonase, Rhinocort, and Nasacort are effective in treating allergies. Some pills, such as Singulair and other leukotrienes, can be taken at night and wont dry out your vocal cords the way antihistamines would.
Some patients with severe allergies may qualify for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment system where patients are given shots, drops, or tablets of the substance they are allergic to in gradually-increasing doses. This helps patients increase their tolerance to those allergens. It wont cure the allergy, but it will reduce your symptoms.
If you follow these steps you can keep your allergies at bay and help keep your voice clear and strong.
Allergy Medicine For Singers
Antihistamines should be avoided at all costs if youre a singer. They can actually prolong and worsen the dehydrating effects on your vocal folds. But there are plenty of alternative allergy medicines musicians can use to alleviate allergy symptoms:
- Nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines these are a great allergy relief for singers and can help with nasal symptoms and with postnasal drip. They provide targeted relief that wont affect the voice and throat.
- Medicative pills some pills such as Singulair and other leukotrienes are safe for singers to take at night as they dont have a drying effect on the vocal cords.
- Natural antihistamines some natural plant extracts and foods can work as antihistamines and dont have a drying effect on your voice.
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Can Allergies Make Your Voice Hoarse
There are allergies. Respiratory symptoms similar to those you suffer with colds or flu and with similar effects on your voice are created by hay fever and other allergies. Postnasal drip, also known as upper airway cough syndrome, occurs when excessive mucus is produced by the nose. The excess mucus accumulates in the back of the nose and then drips down the back of the throat.
Allergies And Chronic Sinus Disorders
Patients who suffer from persistent coughing, throat clearing, and excessive postnasal drainage associated with allergies and chronic sinus infections often experience prolonged Dysphonia. Fortunately, appropriate diagnosis and medical management of these underlying conditions will usually reduce hoarseness.
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Flexible Or Rigid Transoral Laryngoscopy
Your doctor may perform flexible laryngoscopy at the same time as a vocal exam. This test allows the doctor to look at your childs vocal cords to identify cysts or nodules.
Immediately before the test, the doctor sprays a topical anesthetic in your childs nose to numb the nasal passages and throat. After the area is numb, the doctor inserts a thin, supple tube called a flexible laryngoscope through one of the nostrils and into the larynx. The laryngoscope is attached to a tiny high-definition camera, which enables the doctor to see the vocal cords clearly on a monitor.
During flexible laryngoscopy, the doctor may ask your child to repeat certain sounds and words to see how the vocal cords are working and the precise location of the problem. This test is performed in the doctors office and takes about two minutes.
A rigid transoral laryngoscope, also performed in the doctors office, may be used if your child has a deviated septum or a blockage in the nasal passages. These conditions make it difficult to insert a flexible laryngoscope through a nostril.
After spraying a topical anesthetic into your childs throat, the doctor inserts a thin, metal laryngoscope through the mouth and into the larynx. The high-definition camera attached to the tip of the laryngoscope shows the vocal cords on a monitor. Rigid transoral laryngoscopy typically takes two minutes to perform.
Allergens And Their Effects
Postnasal drip is the main culprit in cases of allergy-induced sore throat.
Its the result of exposure to an allergen and occurs when congestion in the nose and sinuses drains down to the throat. This causes tickling or scratchy pain.
The drainage also can cause:
Scratchiness is another way to determine if you have an allergy-induced sore throat.
In addition to the raw feeling that results from postnasal drainage, particles that directly enter the respiratory system can cause an itchy or scratchy feeling.
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Can Allergies Cause Sore Throat
Sometimes allergies can cause a sorethroat, as well as other symptoms. The way your body protects itself against allergic reactions is part of it. Your body releases chemicals after exposure to an allergic event. These are proteins that help your immune system fight off an attack by an allergen.
The symptoms of an allergy can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are runny nose, sneezing, hives, swelling of your face and throat, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
When To Call Your Doctor
Its important to see your doctor if you are experiencing a hoarse voice that lasts beyond a few days. While most causes of hoarseness are benign and are due to transient causes such as a cold, it may also be a symptom of something more serious.
If your symptom persists, its important to make an appointment with your doctoreven if you think thereâs a reasonable cause. Doctors vary on what they call âpersistent.â In general, if your symptoms last more than two weeks, progressively worsen, or are associated with other symptoms, you should make an appointment.
If you notice the sudden loss of voice or have other concerning symptoms, such as weakness in a part of your body, visual changes, or lightheadedness, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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