Answers to Common Ear, Nose, and Throat Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about ear, nose, and throat health.

What does it mean when someone says they are “losing their voice?”

Dr. Laura Tully discusses what it means when someone says they’re “losing their voice.” Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What does it mean when someone says they are “losing their voice?”

When a person says they're losing their voice, usually what they describe is hoarseness. That can mean a wide range of things. We, as ENT physicians, will typically describe that hoarseness or dysphonia. It can be characterized by roughness or breathiness, increased effort or strain when talking. Sometimes it can be characterized by pain with voicing or speaking. For professional voice users, like a professional singer, it may mean that their speaking voice is totally normal but they have a hard time hitting their falsetto. For them, that is losing their voice. It can mean different things to different people. When we, as ENTs evaluate it, we actually give it a more descriptive term than just losing a voice or hoarseness.


When someone says they’re losing their voice, it means they are having a hard time talking because of hoarseness.

Hoarseness can describe voice roughness or breathiness or an increased effort or strain when you’re trying to talk, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say.

“Losing your voice” can also come along with some pain when trying to speak. Talk to your doctor for more information about what “losing your voice” means.

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Source: Stewart Adam, MD, Premier ENT Associates; Jeffrey Adam, MD, Premier ENT Associates; Laura Tully, MD, Premier ENT Associates