Can heartburn affect my voice?

A Answers (1)

  • ADaniel McCabe, DMA, CCC-SLP, Otolaryngology, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System

    Heartburn is a symptom you get when acid from the stomach comes up into your esophagus (which it’s not supposed to do). It usually happens when you’re awake, and can be quite painful. If material from your stomach (of which hydrochloric acid is just one part) makes it up to your throat, this is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (larynx and throat), and this can irritate the tissues of the vocal folds and surrounding area. You do not have to feel heartburn or regurgitation to have reflux, and only 50% of those with reflux feel these symptoms. Results of this include a hoarse voice (worse when you awaken in the morning), and/or chronic dry coughing. Sometimes a deepening or increase in the hoarseness of your voice can be the only sign of this type of tissue damage. Repeated/long-term burning of these tissues can lead to pathologic tissue changes, and needs to be treated.

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