Laryngitis is inflammation of the larynx, which is caused by irritation to the vocal folds (AKA the vocal cords). This in turn is what causes us to lose our voices as a result of a cold, sore throat or infection, which can be highly frustrating whenever you’re trying to be heard at work or out with friends – even if some of your friends and family enjoy the peace and quiet...
Fortunately, laryngitis will normally subside on its own given time once the inflammation subsides. But if you want to speed up your recovery so you can go back to singing in the shower sooner, there are a few things you can do…
The number one home remedy for laryngitis is simply to try and talk less. Shut yourself away with a boxset of your favorite TV show and try to avoid phone calls for the week. Taking time off of work is advised if possible.
If you do have to talk, then make sure that you talk and don’t shout. What’s more, you should also avoid whispering. Strange though it may seem, whispering is actually more strenuous for your vocal cords than talking at normal volume.
As well as avoiding talking, you should also try and stop coughing as much as possible. This isn’t always easy but there are a few things you can do to help – such as using cough sweets or drinking warm liquids. Chicken soup is particularly good for this purpose too.
Cough sweets that contain anti-inflammatory agents are particularly good as they can help to repair the damage at the same time as soothing your throat. Look for sweets containing horehound. Honey is also particularly popular. Having a teaspoon of honey is also popular.
Just like any other type of inflammation, a warm compress can be useful in helping your vocal cords to heal. Try holding a warm compress to your throat and wrapping a towel around to keep it in place.
Inhaling steam is another way to gently fight inflammation in your throat but make sure it’s not too hot – if you scold yourself you’ll cause more damage!
For an even better inhalation, add 4-6 drops of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory oils. These include lavender, chamomile and sandalwood.
As is so often the case, prevention is much better than cure when it comes to laryngitis. To prevent your sore throat leading to a lost voice, try breathing through your nose, putting a humidifier in your bedroom and sucking cough sweets early on.
If you smoke, this will seriously exacerbate the problem, so try and hold off as much as possible at least until you’ve stopped spluttering!