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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Laryngitis
These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as
recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is
always advised to consult their own physician.
Question: I've had troubles speaking for the past few months. Very strained
voice, voice breaks, not enough breath to finish sentence, chest hurts if speak to much,
voice quavers, breathy. Went to ear/nose/throat- just said to rest voice but its not
getting any better. Got puffer, doesn't work. Could it be spasmodic dysphonia? Any advice
Answer: Did they look at your vocal cords? If not they should.
Also, if this is ok, what do pulmonary function tests show? Tag on a flow volume loop to
ensure that you don't have some upper airway obstruction.
Question: I am a professional singer who is currently experiencing hoarseness
and laryngitis. I have also experienced a partial loss of vocal range. This condition has
persisted for the last two months. In an effort to resolve the problem I met with a
physician who indicated that he wasn't sure what I had and indicated that he didn't really
know much about vocal problems. He recently prescribed a nasal steroid, Hismonal and an
antibiotic. For the last several days I have spoken/sung very little but am still
experiencing these problems (laryngitis like effect and loss of vocal range). I have a
history of allergies and have been experiencing significant throat drainage for quite some
time. I would like very much to have advice as to what I can do to regain my vocal health
Answer: I agree with your physician to start. However, there are several other
things to try. First ensure that you are not having acid reflux, which is a common cause
of vocal cord irritation. If your problem persists a direct visualization will be
necessary to ensure that you do not have polyps on your cords. Another adjunct to help the
swelling would be gargling with warm salt water.
Question: Can laryngitis do permanent damage to the voice? What are some treatments
for relief? My daughter (11 years old) has had no voice for 4 weeks with a very sore
throat. The doctor put her on Biaxin for secondary bronchial infection which has been
cleared up for one week now and we use a humidifier in her room. She drinks water
constantly and sucks on cough drops and throat lozenges all day. She has not eaten solid
foods for 4 weeks. She does not have a fever now. It started as a cold with a very bad
sore throat. Is it OK for her to whisper?
Answer: Once this has lasted this long, an Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist needs to
visualize her vocal cords. Whispering is OK.
Question: How long should laryngitis take to clear after sinusitis and bronchitis
Answer: Like most other things the time to resolution depends on the cause of
laryngitis. Usually laryngitis will clear about the same time or earlier than bronchitis
or sinusitis if it is due to viral or bacterial causes. If it does not clear an
investigation should be done which includes visualization of the cords by direct
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