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Kicking throat clearing to the curb

Do you clear your throat often? Do you even KNOW if you do?

Throat clearing is something that many people are guilty of but maybe don’t even know how frequently is happening. Throat clearing should never be ignored and can be a sign laryngeal irritation or dysfunction. Throat clearing is pretty traumatic to the vocal folds and should be avoided! 🚫Plus throat clearing only leads to MORE throat clearing! 👎🏻Let’s break that cycle!

If you find yourself frequently throat clearing first take note of the patterns:

  • Is it happening more after you talk or after things like eating/drinking (immediately after or up to a few hours after? Is it after specific foods/drinks? hint: that second cup of ☕️?)

  • Is it generally worse in the morning or at the end of the day?

  • Do you throat clear more after laying down?

  • Does it get worse the more that you clear? (It almost always will!)

  • Do you feel like there is mucus in your throat or a something stuck in your throat constantly?

  • When you clear your throat is it dry or does it actually clear mucus?

  • Does it worsen when you are stressed?

These observations can give us some more clues as to what is behind all of the throat clearing. We want to investigate:

  • Is there a laryngeal dysfunction?

  • Are you using your voice in an inefficient or phonotraumatic way that causes you to feel irritation that makes you want to throat clear?

  • Do you have silent reflux LPR (note many do not feel GERD symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux even if they have LPR!- most symptoms are throat clearing, voice change, globus, throat irritation…sound familiar??)

  • Do you have allergies that are causing you to feel a tickle in your throat?

What can we do??

  • Visit a laryngologist (ENT specialized in voice and upper airway disorders) and set up a consultation or evaluation with a voice-specialized speech language pathologist (I know it seems odd to see a speech language pathologist for this but a speech pathologist specialized in voice is specialized in the vocal folds which is part of what is causing this issue!)

  • Drink lots of water

  • Avoid reflux inducing foods and drinks

  • When you feel the urge to throat clear don’t do it. Try a sip and hard swallow instead

  • Avoid lozenges with menthol but you can suck on non-menthol lozenges like Ludens

  • If you feel you have allergies visit an allergist

  • Try to be observant of the patterns and how often the throat clearing is really happening. You may be surprised by both!

Questions? Shoot me a message, let’s talk

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