As we surpass the one-year mark of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re learning more and more about the possible symptoms and long-term effects of the virus. One of these effects is a hoarse voice, known as “COVID-19 voice.” While voice changes may not seem like a big deal, there is a possibility of ongoing damage.
Here’s how the novel coronavirus can affect your voice.
Upper respiratory tract infections cause inflammation in the upper airway, including the larynx. The larynx, also known as the voice box, is the organ in your throat that helps you produce speech. Within the larynx are the vocal cords, two flaps of muscle tissue that vibrate in response to airflow. Inflammation of the larynx is known as laryngitis.
It’s not just this inflammation that contributes to a hoarse voice, but also secondary symptoms. For example, the virus affects the lungs, which causes you to cough. Between a persistent cough and an already inflamed throat, this can cause extreme irritation.
Over time, all this irritation affects the flexibility of the vocal cords until they eventually become stiff, swollen and unable to vibrate as usual. This causes the pitch and depth of your voice to change, which can cause you to sound raspy or speak in a whisper.
People who have severe cases of COVID-19 requiring medical intervention are especially at risk for developing COVID-19 voice. One of the treatments for the virus is dexamethasone, a steroid that can increase acid reflux and cause chemical irritation to an already inflamed throat.
Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent a hoarse voice:
- Stay hydrated to prevent cough receptors from becoming dry and activating.
- Suck on cough drops to numb the nerves of the cough receptors.
- Rest your voice as much as possible.
- Eat a healthy diet to minimize acid reflux.
Pinnacle ENT Associates has a team of expert ENTs who can diagnose throat issues and develop strategies to help. Request an appointment today!
 Published by Health Essentials. (2021, April 13). What is “COVID-19 voice” and what causes it? Retrieved May 12, 2021, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-covid-19-voice-and-what-causes-it/