Allergies and Hoarseness - Different causes of Hoarseness

Allergies and Hoarseness

Many people attribute their hoarse voice to allergies. While it makes sense that allergies may cause changes in the throat that lead to voice change, there is little evidence to support this contention. There has only been one well-done study to assess the affect of allergy on the voice. In this study, patients underwent voice testing and examination, were exposed to the allergen that they tested positive to, and had repeat voice testing and examination. The conclusion of the study was that allergy had little, if any, effect on voice.

Clinically, in our experience, although there are no obvious changes in the larynx due to allergy, there are some changes in the throat and nose, which affect the voice. Allergy causes swelling of nasal tissues, which can alter the voice. Additionally, allergy can increase nasal drainage and lead to frequent throat clearing, which may irritate the vocal cords. It is therefore important to include allergy as a consideration in evaluating patients with hoarseness.

That being said, the majority of patients that have been told they have hoarseness due to allergy (symptoms such as mucus in their throat, frequent throat clearing, a lump in the throat), actually have silent, undiagnosed acid reflux disease. A proper evaluation of the hoarseness is necessary to distinguish the different potential causes of their hoarseness. The speech team of New York voice doctors at NYU Voice Center, under the direction of Dr. Milan Amin, is expert in evaluating and treating hoarseness caused by allergies and other factors.