Working from home could be harming your voice, research suggests

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Thursday, April 15, 2021
Working from home could be hurting your voice
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Have a sore, dry, irritated throat? Your Zoom meetings might be to blame.

Research suggests people who have been working from home during the pandemic have experienced an increase in voice-related problems.

Constant virtual and phone meetings could be putting more strain on your voice.

"What can happen then is over these sustained repetitive meetings where perhaps you're talking a bit louder than what you appreciate, like any muscle system, with use, it starts to fatigue," Dr. Paul Bryson said.

Bryson is a voice specialist at Cleveland Clinic. He said continuous strain over an extended period of time can cause problems in your larynx.

Symptoms include dryness, irritation and soreness.

Bryson also said virtual meetings and phone conferences make it difficult for people to pick up on social cues, causing people to repeat themselves, talk over others or raise their voice to be heard.

But there are some things you can do. First, try to get a headset with a good microphone. That way you don't have to talk louder than normal.

Also stay well hydrated and avoid caffeinated drinks.

"A lot of caffeine can be a dehydrator, which can then potentially dry up the secretions on the voice box that are naturally there for lubrication and to help vibration," Bryson said.

If you've tried this remedies for two to four weeks and not seen any improvement, you should contact your doctor.