Vocal Health Tip—Limit Your Caffeine Intake
For professional vocalists or public speakers, caffeine may seem like a necessary evil to help you keep up with your busy schedule. However, caffeinated drinks have a tendency to cause dehydration, which can leave the mouth, throat and vocal chords dry and parched — NOT good for professional voice.
Caffeinated beverages can also aggravate acid reflux, which is extremely harmful to your professional voice. Acids leaving the stomach and traveling up through the esophagus to the larynx can cause a condition called laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR. LPR causes chronic cough, sore throat and other symptoms that can lead to voice disorders.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is comparable to — GERD — that results from the contents of the stomach backing up (reflux). The symptoms of LPR are often different than those that are typical of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
With laryngopharyngeal reflux, you may not have the classic symptoms of GERD, such as a burning sensation in your lower chest (heartburn).
Stomach acid that pools in the throat and larynx can cause long-term irritation and damage to your voice. Without treatment, it can be serious.
In infants and children, laryngopharyngeal reflux can cause:
• Narrowing of the area below the vocal cords
• Contact ulcers
• Recurrent ear infections from problems with eustachian tube function
• Lasting buildup of middle ear fluid
Silent reflux can scar the throat and voice box, and increase risk for cancer. Additionally, silent reflux may irritate conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis.
Common symptoms include:
• Excessive throat clearing
• Persistent cough
• A “lump” in the throat that doesn’t go away with repeated swallowing
• A sensation of postnasal drip or excess throat mucus
• Trouble swallowing
• Trouble breathing
• Sore throat
If you think you may have the symptoms for Laryngopharyngeal Reflux or are concerned about acid reflux effecting or damaging your throat and/or vocal chords, contact the Colorado Voice Clinic to make an appointment: 303.844.3000