What does acid reflux have to do with my voice?

by Anna Dubiak, M.S., CCC-SLP
Duncan Lake Speech Therapy, LLC

Reflux is a condition in which stomach acid repeatedly flows back up into the esophagus.  Acid reflux is something roughly 20% of adults suffer from in Western cultures.  It can manifest for many reasons and can cause discomfort for individuals who have it.

What happens if it gets worse?

Well, I am so glad you asked! While there are many things that reflux can cause if it is not managed by a professional, one reason we worry about this in the voice world is laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). This is a big fancy word which translates into the acid from your stomach coming in contact with the larynx and pharynx which is the area in which your voice lives.  This will cause stress on your voice and impact your overall vocal quality.

What to look for:

  • Hoarseness

  • Globus sensation

  • Chronic throat clearing

  • Heartburn

  • Regurgitation

  • Post-nasal drip

  • Eustachian tube dysfunction

  • Other voice changes

If this sounds like you, make sure to reach out to your doctor and try to get your reflux managed.  If you feel your voice has been affected by reflux and you are experiencing hoarseness or other voice changes, come visit us or another speech language pathologist.   Speech therapy can support you in regaining your vocal health and help you use your voice in an efficient and healthy way so you can be confident in your voice skills!

What does acid reflux have to do with my voice?

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