A "lost voice," or laryngitis, is caused by inflammation or irritation of the voice box. As the vocal cords get inflamed, they swell, causing hoarseness, leading to the symptom of a lost voice. Causes of a lost voice include viral and bacterial infections such as bronchitis, flu, cold, pneumonia, chemicals and irritants, according to Medline Plus, a website of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
As soon as you feel your voice weakening, stop talking, don't shout and don't sing. Don't even try to whisper. Give your voice and vocal cords at least 24 hours of rest according to the Musical Theatre Audition website
Whether your laryngitis results from an infection or overuse, this symptom is your body's signal that you should rest your voice completely. According to ABC News Health, when you force sounds or even cough when the vocal folds are swollen and inflamed, you increase the inflammation of your vocal cords. Coughing causes the vocal folds to whip together with a higher level of force than usually happens during speech.
Drink plenty of water. You need to keep your vocal cords moist so keep water with you at all times while your voice is temporarily on vacation. Try to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day while your voice is out of commission.
Warm drinks can be soothing--just make sure they're caffeine and alcohol free. These substances are dehydrating and will make your condition worse, according to ABC News Health. Instead, gravitate to herbal or caffeine-free teas, and skip the lemon slice. The citric acid in lemons can promote acid reflux which can further irritate the vocal cords, according to ABC News Health.
Herbal throat lozenges that don't numb the throat are good to use while you don't have use of your voice. Choose lozenges like Fisherman's Friend or Ricola. They'll help you keep your vocal cords moist as you give your voice a needed rest.
Lozenges like Hall's contain numbing agents. While the menthol might make you think you're doing your throat a favor, the numbing action temporarily soothes the pain and you might decide it's safe to risk speaking.
Salt Water Gargle
This remedy, while it doesn't taste good, will help your irritated throat to heal. Dissolving table salt into warm water, then gargling with it helps to kill any viruses and lessen the severity of your symptoms.
You can also use an alcohol-free mouthwash to gargle. As you gargle with the mouthwash, you're killing the cold germs that have settled into the back of your throat.