Why Is It Bad To Whisper When You Have Laryngitis?

Laryngitis is an inflammatory condition of the larynx or voice box. The vocal cords get inflamed and swollen. The main causes of laryngitis are the viral or bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract, irritation in the throat induced by smoking, overuse of voice such as singing, shouting, and environmental allergies. The symptoms of laryngitis are hoarseness and tickling in the throat, loss of voice, dry cough and low-grade fever. Speech therapists consider whispering in laryngitis more harmful for vocal cords.

Why Is It Bad To Whisper When You Have Laryngitis?

Two bands of elastic tissue on the lining of the larynx constitute vocal cords. They are positioned by the side of the voice box (larynx) above the windpipes (trachea). The larynx and vocal cords are responsible for the generation of your voice. When you speak, the air comes out of the lungs traveling towards the vocal cords, forcing them to close. This results in vibration of the vocal cords faster or slower according to high or low pitched sounds. When we stop speaking, vocal cords are open allowing you to breathe through the windpipe.

Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx (voice box) characterized by the swelling of the vocal cords. In laryngitis, vocal cords get swollen and the sound waves get deviated over them, disturbing generation of voice. It causes hoarseness, tickling, and dryness in the throat.

Laryngitis can be acute or chronic according to onset and duration of the symptoms. Acute laryngitis settles down in less than three weeks whereas chronic laryngitis remains for more than three weeks. Chronic laryngitis can last more than three weeks even for months. It is a constant inflammatory condition that results in changes in the voice and hoarseness. However, this condition can be painless with no sign of any infection. It leads to excessive strain on the vocal cords and damage to the vocal cords resulting in polyps or nodules in the larynx. This damage can be permanent

The Causes Of Laryngitis Are As Follows-

  • Overstraining the voice like yelling, speaking or singing loudly
  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection
  • Irritants that are inhaled for example chemical fumes, smoke or allergens
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, Acid reflux)
  • Chronic sinus infections (sinusitis)
  • Excess intake of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Constant overuse of voice like singers, speakers, cheerleaders
  • Cancer
  • Excessive coughing
  • Constant use of steroid medicines like asthma inhalers
  • Paralysis of vocal cords due to an injury, stroke, lung tumor, etc
  • Old age

The Symptoms Of Laryngitis Are As Follows-

Speech therapists do not recommend whispering if you have laryngitis. Professional speakers, singers or teachers who have developed laryngitis are asked to have vocal rest and are advised to avoid whispering. According to ENT experts, whispering is a mechanism to speak in a low voice and it needs lots of extra effort to produce sound than a normal volume speech.

When you have hoarseness, you feel to whisper in order to rest your voice. But it actually puts lots of strain on the vocal cords that can lead to irritation in the throat and this further increase the hoarseness and puts more strain on the windpipes. An excess strain on windpipes, voice box, and vocal cords can result in further damage to them and delay the process of recovery from laryngitis.

Conclusion

Laryngitis is an inflammatory condition of the larynx triggered by overuse of the voice, certain irritants, and infection. Whispering is considered worse for people with laryngitis. It puts more strain on the vocal cords and voice box resulting in more hoarseness and damage to the quality of voice. It significantly delays the process of recovery from laryngitis.

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