Case Challenge: Diagnosing and Managing Dysphonia

Gordon H. Sun, MD, MS


June 19, 2018

Vocal Hygiene

According to the AAO-HNSF dysphonia guideline update, clinicians should recommend behavioral and environmental modifications to patients to prevent or reduce the risk of developing dysphonia. Preventive measures include:

  • Increasing water intake (drinking six to eight 8-oz glasses of water daily)

  • Using amplification devices in large, noisy spaces to reduce vocal strain

  • Resting the voice for brief periods to prevent fatigue and overuse

  • Using an indoor air humidifier in dry environments[1]

Lifestyle modifications and strategies to improve voice health include:

  • Smoking cessation and avoiding secondhand smoke, both of which can irritate the upper aerodigestive tract

  • Avoiding overuse or excessive strain of the voice (eg, shouting, yelling, whispering)

  • Avoiding excessive throat clearing or coughing

  • Avoiding consumption of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which can cause throat dryness and thickening of mucus

  • Avoiding medications that can dry out mucous membranes[1] (The list of "drying" medications is extensive, but includes many common classes of drugs such as antihistamines, decongestants, and diuretics[5,6])


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