Acid Reflux and Your Voice

Posted in: Voice News  |  December 1, 2011 
Acid Reflux and Your Voice

“The human voice is the organ of the soul” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Your voice is one of your most defining characteristics. Much like fingerprints, each person’s voice is entirely unique.  But when it comes to vocal fold damage, there may be an unlikely culprit. Acid reflux is commonly thought of as a gastrointestinal issue, however it may be doing more than causing you discomfort.  It may be damaging your vocal folds.

The tissues of the larynx are more likely to be damaged by stomach acid than the esophagus as they are highly sensitive and unprotected. Over time this can lead to inflammation and degradation of the larynx, which can affect your voice and lead to chronic hoarseness. While acid reflux is most often associated with heartburn, some signs that harmful stomach acid is damaging your vocal folds may not be so obvious. These symptoms include sore throat, chronic cough or throat clearing and difficulty swallowing. An acidic taste in the back of your throat can also be an indication.

When it comes to treating acid reflux, small lifestyle changes can make a big difference. By avoiding the following foods, it may be possible to reduce your symptoms:

  • Avoid acidic foods, especially citrus and tomato-based foods
  • Cut down on caffeinated and carbonated beverages
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Eat less fatty foods
  • Limit consumption of dairy products, including chocolate
  • Avoid spicy foods

Consider eating some healthy (and yummy!) alternatives such as oatmeal, bananas, poultry, green veggies and multi-grain breads. Exercise regularly for overall health, but avoid exercising around bedtime or after meals. If you still experience symptoms despite diet and lifestyle changes, call us to see how we can help you find your voice again.