Can hayfever affect your voice?
Hay fever is a common allergic reaction experienced by millions of people globally. If you are among those who suffer from hay fever, you already know how frustrating it can be. Symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, among others. However, not many people realize that hay fever can also affect their voice.
Symptoms of hay fever that can affect your voice
Hay fever affects the lining of your nose, eyes, and throat. This contact can cause inflammation, which can result in several symptoms related to your voice, such as:
- Hoarseness: Hay fever causes inflammation in the throat, leading to hoarseness or a change in the quality of your voice.
- Sore throat: Postnasal drip due to hay fever can irritate the throat, resulting in a sore throat and a hoarse voice.
- Voice Strain: Coughing, clearing of the throat, and speaking more than usual to communicate over the noise of allergy symptoms can result in vocal strain and fatigue.
How does hay fever affect your voice?
Hay fever allergy results from the overreaction of your immune system. Your body’s immune system mistakes a harmless substance like pollen or dust as a foreign invader and triggers an immune response that leads to inflammation of the respiratory tract. The inflammation caused by hay fever can affect the vocal cords, leading to the following changes in the voice:
- Inflammation – Inflammation of the vocal cords can result in hoarseness and a change in the quality of your voice.
- Dryness – The allergy can cause dryness in the throat and nasal passages, which can make your voice sound hoarse or raspy.
- Swelling – Swelling due to hay fever can affect the vocal cords, making sound production difficult.
Do all hay fever sufferers experience voice changes?
Although hay fever can affect your voice, not all sufferers experience voice changes. While there is no clear answer for why some people develop voice symptoms, factors like the severity and duration of the allergies, individual vocal habits and environmental factors, like pollution, may all play a role.
Factors affecting voice changes in hay fever include:
- Microbial flora
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Smoking habits
- Existing traumatic history of voice use.
- Environmental factors.
When should you visit a doctor?
If you have experienced hoarseness, voice strain, or sore throat after hay fever, you may wonder whether you should seek medical attention. In most cases, voice changes due to hay fever resolve once the allergy dissipates, but sometimes, changes in your voice can indicate a more severe condition.
You should visit your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- Severe voice changes lasting longer than two weeks
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Chest pain or coughing up blood
- A lump in the throat or neck area
Preventing Hay Fever Symptoms
Prevention remains better than cure, especially regarding allergies. Here are some measures to minimize hay fever’s symptoms, including those concerning the voice:
- Avoid allergens like pollen, dust, and mold.
- Use antihistamine nasal sprays, eye drops, and medications recommended by your doctor.
- Keep your home clean and free from pet hair, dust, and mold to help lessen exposure to allergens.
- Practice good vocal hygiene, including drinking lots of fluids to hydrate your voice, and avoiding vocally strenuous situations.
Hay fever can cause a variety of symptoms, including hoarseness, voice strain, and sore throat. The changes arise because inflammation affects the vocal cords. The good news is that voice symptoms due to allergies like hay fever tend to resolve once the allergies dissipate. Take preventive measures and visit a doctor if you experience severe voice changes or other concerning symptoms.
Questions and Answers
- Can allergies cause a sore throat? Yes, allergies can cause a sore throat.
- Can allergies cause a change in voice? Yes, allergies can cause hoarseness, voice strain, and changes in the voice quality.
- Can hay fever affect singing? Yes, hay fever can cause sore throat and other voice changes, which can lead to vocal strain and fatigue, which can affect singing
- When should you see a doctor for hay fever? You should see your doctor if you experience symptoms like chest pain or difficulty swallowing, or if you have persistent changes in your voice lasting more than two weeks.
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Hay Fever. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20373039
SAH. (2020). Acute allergic rhinitis. Retrieved from: https://sah.org.sa/en/archive/can-allergic-rhinitis-affect-the-voice/