Published: Jan. 20, 2010
Updated: Aug. 4, 2011
If you experience sudden loss of voice following yelling, shouting, or other strenuous vocal tasks, you may have developed a vocal fold hemorrhage.
A vocal fold hemorrhage is a bleed that occurs when a blood vessel on the surface of the vocal fold ruptures and bleeds in the tissue of the vocal fold. A hemorrhage appears as an area of redness when visualized with laryngoscopy.
A person is at risk for a vocal fold hemorrhage if they do a lot of shouting or loud singing or if they are taking blood-thinning medications. Women are also more susceptible to hemorrhages given fluctuations in their menstrual cycle, and if they engage in heavy voice use at those times.
The most immediate treatment for a vocal fold hemorrhage is complete voice rest (silence) for several days until the hemorrhage resolves.
A hemorrhage left untreated or occurring repeatedly may result in scarring of the vocal folds, which is a condition that is much harder to treat and has permanent effects on voice quality.
If you lose your voice after strenuous voice use, see your otolaryngologist as soon as possible.