Vocal Science: How can acid reflux affect the quality of your voice?

Would you consider yourself someone who uses their voice a great deal? Are you a professional singer, a professional voice artist or someone that uses their voice at work more than usual? If yes, then you know that your voice is a very important tool/resource that needs to be protected; and if used incorrectly or abused, your voice can be susceptible to all kinds of traumas. Some symptoms of certain vocal problems, disorders or traumas can include a hoarse voice, excessive throat clearing, thick buildup of mucus in the throat, coughing, trouble in swallowing, trouble breathing, etc. All these symptoms will definitely affect your voice. It may very well even effect the quality of your life! 

Some other voice/vocal abnormalities may include changes in pitch and also the volume of your voice. It may also cause vocal fatigue, breaks (or cracks) in your voice while speaking or singing… And nevertheless, you also may experience difficulty being heard in noisy environments when you are desperately trying to “cut through” the noise.

Are you suffering from any of the symptoms listed above? If yes, what may be the cause of these annoying and very uncomfortable (to say the least) symptoms?

While there is a variety of disorders that can cause voice and/or throat related problems, one of the common issues may be due to acid reflux that could greatly affect the voice - stomach acid that travels upwards through the throat (esophagus) and easily could splash onto the vocal cords. There may be a chance that you don't feel any heartburn that accompanies acid reflux, but this still could be a cause of the voice problems listed in this article. Many people are not aware that acid reflux is a very common thing, because there are various types of acid reflux that don't cause the classic symptoms that we all generally think of - the sensation of burning in the chest and stomach, or food regurgitation. This is known as what’s called “silent acid reflux”.

So, now when you know why and how your stomach acid can affect your voice, what do you need to do when you experience any voice changes? The very first thing to do is to check your lifestyle and diet. Are you habitual of smoking? Do you consume high-caffeine in your diet or acidic foods,   alcohol, or high-fat content? If your answer is yes to any of the above, then you should immediately change all these negative behavioral habits, as these habits could, no doubt, cause an increase in your body’s acid production. 

If changes in lifestyle and diet are not enough to control your symptoms, then additional natural treatment for acid reflux may be necessary. So, if your throat related problems are caused by acid reflux, and if you are experiencing continual throat problems for more than 2 weeks, please see an alternative health expert for an evaluation. Please make sure to visit an alternative vocal health specialist to be certain that the possible diagnosis of acid reflux effecting the voice are not overlooked.

Diana Yampolsky is the Master Vocal Coach, Studio Vocal Producer, and Non-Surgical Voice Repair Specialist at The Royans Professional Vocal School  and The Royans Institute for Non-Surgical Voice Repair, in Toronto, Canada and worldwide. She is the sole creator of the Vocal Science (TM) method - Trademarked with the Government of Canada.

If you would like to stay up to date with Vocal Science news, Subscribe to our Vocal Science Newsletter (Located HERE).

If you find yourself struggling with voice/vocal performance or are in need of non-surgical voice repair, you can reach Diana Yampolsky personally via email (info@vocalscience.com) or phone, (416-857-8741)


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