What are the symptoms of voice damage?

Voice damage means more than just losing your voice. Voice strain can be revealed by the following early symptoms:

  • pain, leading indirectly to a change in voice tone or quality;
  • sore throat;
  • croakiness;
  • tension, leading to change in voice quality;
  • discomfort speaking;
  • lower pitch to the voice;
  • breaking voice;
  • loss of vocal range;
  • tickling in the throat;
  • the urge to cough or clear the throat; and
  • the voice becoming harsh, raspy, shrill or thin.

In more severe cases, vocal strain can produce:

  • loss of voice;
  • inflammation of the larynx;
  • swelling of the vocal chords;
  • the appearance of vocal nodules, tumours or ulcers; and
  • breathing difficulties

Voice specialists agree that drinking tea and coffee all day can have a damaging effect on vocal cords. Caffeine is a diuretic, encouraging the discharge of liquids from the body. Like any other soft tissues, the vocal cords should be moist but are likely to become dehydrated. If you are also not using your voice properly, so that it is already under strain, then speaking with dry vocal cords for extended periods of time is likely to cause injury. It's like not having any engine oil in your car.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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