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Vocal Issues: Allergies

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Vocal Issues: Allergies

Vocal Issues Due to Allergies

In addition to common allergies related to seasonal changes and certain foods, performers often face the additional burden of old theaters, performance spaces and rehearsal studios. Excess mold or dust in these environments can trigger allergies that otherwise may not manifest.

Allergy-induced symptoms can include:

  • Throat clearing
  • Cough
  • Thick mucus
  • Stuffy nose
  • Swollen vocal cords
  • Early vocal fatigue

Allergies create swelling and inflammation that dampens the way the vocal cords vibrate. Prolonged or untreated allergies can result in throat clearing and cough, which causes further vocal cord injury. Underlying causes must be addressed.

Vocalists must be careful in treating allergies. Many common allergy medications, such as oral antihistamines and decongestants dry out the mucous so much that the vocal cords can’t vibrate normally. Asthma inhalers that contain steroids can cause yeast overgrowth in the mouth and on the vocal cords. And food allergies can result in reflux symptoms. There are many safer alternatives, including supplements, topical treatments and diet changes, that create healthy and more permanent solutions.

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Linda D. Dahl, MD