Allergies and Your Voice

Your Health

“Allergic rhinitis is what happens when someone is allergic to like the pollen in the air, different allergens that causes runny nose, itchy eyes, runny eyes sometimes and can lead to a lot of drainage in the back of the throat. “

Lauren Hayes is a Speech language Pathologist with Washington Regional’s Outpatient Therapy Services at the Har-Ber Family Clinic in Springdale.

“A lot of times with the nasal drainage it’ll lead to people wanting to clear their throats and cough to kind of clear out that mucus and though we don’t want it necessarily sitting in our throat, we don’t want to always be coughing or clearing our throat either because it can lead to some vocal cord issues causing maybe some vocal coarseness and overall irritation of the throat area. “

Lauren says that coughing and clearing your throat constantly cause cause damage to your voice.

” So, when you do that you’re basically slamming your vocal chords together, they naturally come together in a symmetrical pattern and when you clear your throat or cough it makes them beat against each other and can cause irritation which leads to swelling and when the vocal cords swell the vibration or the mucosal wave is not normal and we can have a breathy voice or even hoarseness if we do it long enough because you can create vocal cord nodules. “

“The biggest thing I can tell you to do is to try to prevent the drainage before it ever starts so using a neti pot to really rinse out the sinuses is a good way to start. A lot of doctors will recommend using over the counter antihistamines to dry out the drainage which is fine but also know that it can also dry out your vocal cords and you need to increase your water intake in order to counteract that. Other ways to keep from needing to take the antihistamines are just using a good hard swallow of water when you feel the urge to clear your throat or cough and then you can also kind of coat that area if you start to notice an irritation you know kind of a sore throat feeling using some honey before you do a lot of talking or you just feel that tickle coming on and you know you may have a coughing spell coming on.”

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