NATIONAL - If you've ever been silenced by laryngitis, you know how frustrating that can be. Before your next bout with this speech-stealer, tips from a voice expert.
Susan Stasinski answers the phone, "Otolaryngology, Sue speaking."
But answering the phone was a challenge when Susan was dealing with laryngitis.
"It started out where it just sounded like you know, here and there your voice would kind of go in and out, but then it was not really coming out that much at all," she explained.
Days turned into weeks, and Susan's voice still wasn't back to normal.
Stasinski said, "Of course, at home, they didn't mind, but it's like, (giggles) you know here at work, it would be hard to come in."
Susan's doctor diagnosed her with laryngitis, a common ailment that affects the way the vocal cords work.
Dr. Joel Blumin says "when the vocal cord gets swollen, it gets a little stiff and doesn't vibrate or wiggle as well as it should."
Dr. Blumin says laryngitis related to a cold is best treated with common sense and H20.
The doctor said it's the "kind of things your mom told you, drinking water, you know, being well hydrated, getting plenty of rest."
In addition, avoid acidic foods, such as tomato products, or acidic drinks, like orange juice. "Especially when the vocal cords are already inflamed from a viral thing, you want to really decrease any reason for to keep it, keep them inflamed," said the doctor.
Short-term, numbing cough drops or throat sprays are okay, with one caveat.
"The more you use them, the more you become blunted to what's going on in your throat, and pain is an important signal."
And if you're really straining to talk, the doctor says you'll need to try the "silent treatment."
"If you're not getting a voice out and you have to, you know, have a lot of effort to get a voice out, it's probably time to rest the voice."
And follow Susan's example - dial your doctor if the laryngitis sticks around too long.
Dr. Blumin says while upper respiratory infections often cause laryngitis, he actually sees a much larger number of patients with the aggravating condition due to reflux.