How can COVID-19 affect my voice?
- COVID-19 can cause a sore throat, laryngitis and a cough, and some people may have needed a ventilator with a breathing tube through the voice-box which can cause an injury. Your voice may be weak and breathy or hoarse and you may have difficulties with voice projection.
- You may have throat discomfort; such as soreness, an irritable cough, a sensation of mucous pooling in the throat and feel the need to throat clear.
- Some people may feel their throat/upper airway becomes more sensitive to the environment around them. For example, a strong scent may trigger a cough, sensation of throat tightness or a restriction in your breathing at the top of your airway.
- Other influences may be dehydration of your voice box, acid reflux, fatigue and stress.
- Your voice reflects your general health and how you are feeling including fatigue and worry.
- Keep hydrated; drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day is recommended as dehydration caused by alcohol or caffeine in drinks can lead to vocal fold irritation.
- If your voice is hoarse or weak, don’t whisper – use your voice gently to avoid strain.
- Steam inhalation for 10-15 minutes can help with dryness and moisturizes the vocal tract.
- Reflux is very common so avoid eating late at night and foods that cause indigestion.
- Reduce or avoid smoking.
- Avoid lots of dairy produce as this can cause thick secretions and throat clearing
Try not to ‘throat clear’ – use sips of water and a hard swallow.
Will my voice return to normal?
The inflammation and damage to your voice box should get better over time without treatment. However, if it doesn’t, please seek a referral to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department via your GP and ENT Speech and Language Therapy.
Persisting alteration of your voice may be an indicator of damage to the vocal folds and will need further assessment.