Published: Jan. 20, 2010
Updated: Aug. 4, 2011
Allergies can be seasonal or year-round. People who suffer from allergies may experience irritation to the lining of the nose and sinus cavities. This may lead to a runny nose, mucus drainage into the throat (postnasal drip), and infection of the lining in the sinus cavities (sinusitis).
These symptoms can lead to changes in the voice quality. Postnasal drip can impact the quality of your voice by irritating the vocal folds, increasing the stiffness of the vocal folds, and altering the resonance of your voice.
It can also increase the thickness of your mucus, which may lead to throat clearing (another behavior which can cause vocal fold swelling and irritation).
The health of your voice is dependent on the control of your allergy and sinus symptoms. If you have any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor, as these may be signs of allergies or sinusitis. These may also be symptoms of other conditions, so proper diagnosis by your doctor is important.
Treatment may include a sinus rinse and medications to reduce irritation and/or infection. Keep in mind that over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays are not usually recommended as some of these are addictive.
Also, some allergy medications taken by mouth have a drying effect (particularly ones with a decongestant ingredient), which can contribute to your voice problem.
Prescription nasal steroid sprays and/or nasal antihistamine sprays may be better treatment for people who suffer from allergies and are concerned about their voices. Your doctor will help you understand the causes of your symptoms and help to find the best care for you and your voice.