Why do singers keep losing their voices?

When the voice is gone: hoarseness

As Hoarseness, dysphonia, or voice disorder Doctors call it when the voice sounds hoarse, scratchy and rough or, in the worst case, stays away entirely. There are different causes of hoarseness: on the one hand, a dry mucous membrane of the throat leads to it, on the other hand, the vocal folds can be reddened and swollen, which can impair voice formation. In addition, hoarseness is sometimes caused by speaking too loudly and for too long. What are other reasons and what is the treatment like?

Our voice: nothing but hot air?

To put it very simply, our voice is actually just a stream of air that is released by the lungs and is deformed and changed on its way to the outside in such a way that a sound is created. The plays an important role here Larynxwho on Transition from the throat to the windpipe lies.

The larynx includes with Muscles and ligaments connected cartilage and is inside with a Mucous membrane lined. The two vocal folds of the larynx are of great importance for sound formation. The airflow from the lungs puts them in vibration. They can vibrate hundreds of times a second. This is how voiced sounds are created.

But that's not all: so that sounds really become language, the air is directed from the larynx towards the neck tube. The extension tube describes the mouth, nose and throat. Together they form a resonance space. Here the tones that were previously generated by the vocal folds amplify and deform into sounds and ultimately speech.

The latter is achieved by moving parts of the speech apparatus, i.e. the lips, tongue and the lower jaw. For example, the teeth are closer together with an "i" than with an "a". To pronounce a whole word, we have to move the lips, tongue and lower jaw several times in a row.

Hoarseness from swollen vocal folds and loud, intense speaking

The harmonious interplay of vocal folds and speaking apparatus is very easy to throw off balance. One of the reasons for this can be a virus infection. The disease causes the mucous membranes and vocal folds to swell, which can lead to hoarseness (dysphonia) or complete voice failure. The same thing happens if the voice is overused by shouting or singing too loudly or for a long time. The result: the vocal folds can no longer be properly set in motion. What comes out of the mouth of the person concerned, mostly sounds brittle, rough and covered - one is hoarse.

Another factor, which is why people speak a lot for professional reasons (Spokesman), get hoarse, that is Drying out of the lining of the mouth and throat. Normally, a very thin, protective film of secretion covers the mucous membranes in this region. Speaking loudly and intensely dries up this film - The throat scratches, throat irritation and hoarseness set in and in the worst case, the voice is gone.

In addition to excessive use of the voice, a room air that is too dry or Cigarette smoke negatively affect the throat. The throat mucous membrane is irritated by the drying out of the mucous membrane caused in this way. This makes the voice sound rough, busy, weak, and croaky. In addition, hoarseness (dysphonia) is sometimes associated with accompanying complaints such as throat irritation, difficulty swallowing and sore throat.

Causes & Symptoms of Hoarseness

Speaking with mask

The voice suffers especially in difficult moments, as we got to know during the pandemic times of the corona crisis. If masks that cover the mouth and nose are to be worn in public buildings and means of transport, this is the case Effects on our speaking behavior. So that the other person understands us better, we raise our voices and the louder and more strenuous speech can cause hoarseness.

In addition difficult wearing a mouth and nose cover for many people too breathing and the Moisturizing the lining of the mouth and throat is sometimes restricted, which in turn has negative effects on the voice. This particularly affects people who rely on a mask for several hours in their job, such as pharmacists, PTAs, salespeople or hairdressers.

Anti-spit walls and large spaces

Further measures to curb the spread of viruses are "spit protection walls" and the recommended minimum distance of one and a half to two meters between people. A protective device is often found at the cash registers in supermarkets, drugstores or at bank counters and everywhere where the minimum distance cannot be maintained. These separations make it difficult but not only the transmission of the virus from person to person, but also talking through this "barrier" through.

In order to be understood correctly, we usually speak automatically louder. The development of hoarseness when speaking out loud is therefore inevitable in many cases. Of course, this also applies if people are forced to speak loudly over a greater distance.

Hoarseness can be acute or chronic

Doctors distinguish whether it is one based on the duration acute or chronic hoarseness acts.
At a cold or one increased short-term voice strain doctors speak of the acute form. It usually only takes a few days for the voice to return to normal.

A chronic disease is when the hoarseness lasts for several months. In this case, not only have the vocal folds thickened, but vocal fold nodules are also often formed. These are uneven thickenings on the edge of the vocal folds that can result from permanent overloading of the voice. Singers in particular or those who speak a lot at work run the risk of developing such nodules.

More on chronic hoarseness

Proper treatment for hoarseness

If you are hoarse, it is a good idea to take care of your voice to prevent it from failing completely. In order to strengthen your scratchy, rough voice again, you should keep speaking to a minimum and otherwise only speak in a low voice. You should avoid strenuous whispering altogether, as it puts additional strain on the vocal cords and vocal folds.

Vote away? - Help with hoarseness

But what to do when hoarseness sets in? GeloRevoice® helps to bring back the lost voice, e.g. if the hoarseness (dysphonia) has developed from excessive use of the voice. Suck up to six throat tablets a day as needed. GeloRevoice® can also be taken over a longer period of time. This is particularly recommended if you regularly strain your voice, e.g. in a multi-speaker profession such as educator, teacher, salesman, singer or call center employee.

Which operating principle does GeloRevoice follow®? The unique Revoice Hydro-Depot® forms a protective film on the mucous membrane in the mouth and throat and protects it from further irritation. People with dysphonia notice: The hoarse voice improves quickly. More about the principle of action.


If the hoarseness persists despite self-treatment, you should consult a doctor. The same applies if the symptoms persist for more than three weeks. More on treating hoarseness.

Home remedies for hoarseness

If the Vote away is or have failed Ribwort plantain and sage just two examples of medicinal herbs that can be used in the natural treatment for dysphonia have proven themselves. How are these herbs used correctly and which home remedies also help with hoarseness?

Home remedies for hoarseness