Can Allergies Make You Hoarse? Causes and Effective Treatments
Updated: May 2023
Hoarseness is irritating, frustrating, and often painful. Typically, hoarseness seems to go hand-in-hand with the sneezing and sore throat that accompanies seasonal and year-round allergies.
But can allergies make you hoarse? Our patients often ask that question. We’ll explore the answer and also take a look at a good remedy for lost voice due to allergies.
Can Allergies Make You Hoarse?
Yes, allergies can make you hoarse, but the reason is a bit more detailed. It centers around how your immune system interacts with allergens
What Happens During an Allergic Reaction?
Allergic reactions occur when your immune system has an overreaction to an allergen. An allergen is any substance that can cause an allergic reaction. The most common allergens include pet dander, ragweed, and other pollens.
When exposed to an allergen, your immune system triggers symptoms that include itchy eyes, coughing, and sneezing. Sometimes, this also causes hoarseness.
How Can Allergies Cause Hoarse Voice?
Here are more answers on how allergies make you hoarse:
Allergies can inflame and irritate the vocal cords, affecting their ability to produce sound.
Mucus can also be to blame. Mucus is often produced when you have an allergic reaction. It drains down the throat, which can be irritating.
In addition, antihistamines, which are often taken to relieve allergy symptoms, can dry out your vocal cords. This effect is seen with older antihistamines like Benadryl and would not be expected with Claratin, Allegra or Zyrtec.
How Long Does Hoarseness From Allergies Last?
This may vary somewhat, but essentially, if hoarseness is due to a respiratory infection, you should see improvement within seven to 10 days.
However, if you still have hoarseness after two weeks, you should schedule an appointment with one of our ear, nose, and throat doctors in Raleigh. Other conditions can cause chronic hoarseness, and some are more serious than others.
Remedy for Lost Voice Due to Allergies
We understand that “losing your voice” is a major inconvenience. But we have a remedy for lost voice due to allergies. There are several different approaches, and we encourage you to try them to see which one works best for you.
1. Gargle With Salt Water
Many of our patients have found this to be a very effective solution. Simply dissolve a half teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle for 15-30 seconds. This can improve throat irritation but does not directly affect the vocal cords.
While it may be challenging, you should use your voice as little as possible. This gives your vocal cords a chance to rest.
3. Stay Hydrated
If you have allergies, and you wonder if allergies make you hoarse, you’ll discover that staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water helps you recover. This will also moisten your vocal cords, which may have dried out due to using antihistamines.
4. Use a Humidifier
Humidifiers add moisture to the air. This soothes your sinus passages and your vocal cords. It’s also an effective way to reduce vocal cord inflammation. It can be an effective remedy for a lost voice due to allergies.
5. See One of Our ENTs
While most cases of hoarseness easily resolve, if you have chronic hoarseness—or if it is very severe — you should be examined by one of our physicians. Underlying medical conditions can cause hoarseness, and it’s vital to determine the underlying cause.
Do You Ever Need Surgery For Hoarseness?
Typically, hoarseness goes away after self-care and allergy treatment. However, if your hoarseness is severe or is persistent, it’s vital to schedule an appointment with our ENTs in Raleigh and Cary.
Whether or not you will need surgery depends upon your individual case.
5 Ways to Prevent Hoarseness
In addition to wondering how allergies make you hoarse and discovering a remedy for a lost voice due to allergies, you may want to know if there’s any way to prevent hoarseness.
We have a few tips:
1. Avoid Smoking and Vaping
Smoking is bad for your health on so many levels, but it can also irritate your vocal cords.
2. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Use
Like smoking, excessive drinking can also irritate your voice and make it more likely to get hoarse.
3. Avoid Yelling
When you produce sound, your vocal cords vibrate. During excessive yelling or screaming—particularly for long periods—the edges of these cords “bang” against each other. This causes excessive irritation.
4. Drink plenty of Fluids
Staying hydrated also reduces inflammation. Avoid sugary sodas and sports drinks. Stick to water.
5. Have a Vocal Examination
Certain professions can lend themselves to hoarseness and vocal cord injury. These include those who use their voice for extended periods, like teachers, and those who make a living using their voice, like musicians or singers.
Hoarseness can sometimes indicate a change in the voice itself. Our speech therapists can help you get to the root cause and provide a course of care.
Raleigh Capitol ENT Offers Allergy Treatment to Help Prevent Hoarseness
Allergies are a common cause of hoarseness, and North Carolina is full of year-round allergens that can irritate your vocal cords.
That’s why we offer comprehensive allergy treatment, ranging from immunotherapy to prescription medication.
As the premier ear, nose, and throat doctors in Raleigh and the surrounding areas, we’re physician-owned. This means we’re not managed by a university or specific hospital. This allows us the freedom to select the best services for our patients.
We would consider it a privilege to serve you. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.