Resting your voice, gargling with salt water, using a humidifier, and drinking warm beverages may help soothe your larynx and restore your voice.

Treating laryngitis and getting your voice back involves treating the inflammation and irritation in your voice box.

Here are some methods to try.

Resting your voice is the single most important factor in healing laryngitis and other reasons for losing your voice. Irritation and inflammation need time to resolve, and avoiding using your voice gives your vocal cords the chance to recover.

Try not to talk for a day or so; if you must speak, use your typical volume.

You might be surprised to learn that whispering can make a lost voice worse, and you should avoid doing it when your voice is hoarse.

When you whisper, your vocal cords are pulled tight and cannot vibrate, which puts extra strain on them. Instead of whispering, use a “confidential voice” or a natural voice at a low volume.

Shouting and singing can also put extra strain on your voice.

If a sore throat or laryngitis has made you lose your voice, an over-the-counter pain reliever may help relieve inflammation and make you more comfortable if your throat hurts.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), can help reduce pain and swelling, which may help improve your symptoms.

If you lose your voice due to an infection or other health condition, a doctor may prescribe medication to help you recover or relieve your symptoms. This can include:

  • antibiotics, if caused by a bacterial infection
  • antifungals, if caused by a fungal infection
  • medications like expectorants to break up mucus
  • antihistamines, if caused by allergic postnasal drip
  • proton pump inhibitors or other treatments, if caused by acid reflux

Corticosteroids are prescription medications that help reduce inflammation. If your work depends on your ability to talk or sing, a doctor may consider prescribing a short course of steroids to speed up healing. This can depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

But they should not be used as a way to get around voice rest, even if your work depends on it, as they can mask symptoms and cause more damage in the long run.

Note that corticosteroids have side effects, including throat and nose irritation, and should not be routinely prescribed. They may not be suitable for everyone.

Drinking plenty of fluids is always recommended when you’re healing from laryngitis. Laryngitis often occurs due to a viral infection, so resting and drinking plenty of fluids will help you recover as quickly as possible.

Warm liquids may help soothe your irritated throat, keep your airways moisturized, and thin out mucus. Try sipping warm liquids like:

  • tea with honey
  • broth
  • soup

Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and black tea, which can lead to dehydration. If skipping your morning coffee is out of the question, replenish your fluids with water or herbal tea.

Gargling warm salt water may help treat laryngitis by keeping your throat moist and relieving inflammation.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and try gargling two or three times per day until your voice returns.

Sucking on a throat lozenge increases your saliva production, which can help keep your throat moist.

Try a lozenge containing honey, which has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

The steam can help moisten your vocal cords and soothe your throat. You can try inhaling steam by:

  • taking a hot shower or bath
  • boiling water or making tea and carefully inhaling over it
  • visiting a steam room

Inhaling warm steam several times a day may help reduce hoarseness and clear the vocal cords of sticky secretions that cause laryngitis symptoms.

If you’re taking a shower or bath, be sure to use water that’s warm enough to create steam but not so hot it burns your skin.

Inhaling humidified steam can keep your upper airways moisturized and remove secretions around your vocal cords that cause you to lose your voice.

Try using a humidifier throughout the day and while you sleep when experiencing laryngitis symptoms or when the air is dry.

Environmental irritants, such as pollution from traffic, smog, wildfire smoke, chemicals, and pesticides, can lead to irritation and damage to your throat and airways. If you have other health conditions, such as asthma, allergies, or COPD, you may be at a greater risk for complications from pollution.

You may be able to avoid irritants by staying indoors when the air outside reaches unhealthy levels.

You may be able to improve the air quality in your home by:

Smoke is an irritant, and smoking is commonly linked to throat inflammation. Anyone healing from laryngitis should avoid smoking and stay out of smoky environments if possible. You can try taking a few days off if you’re a regular smoker or vaper.

If you’re unable to quit nicotine right away, consider using a nicotine patch or other smoking cessation aid. Quitting smoking can be difficult, and a doctor can help develop a cessation plan that works for you.

Alcohol is an irritant that can dry out your throat, which could worsen laryngitis symptoms.

Drinking alcohol may also delay healing, so avoiding it is recommended when trying to get your voice back.

If your loss of voice is due to acid reflux, you can make some dietary changes to avoid foods and beverages that can worsen your symptoms. Foods and drinks to avoid may include:

  • high fat foods
  • acidic foods
  • chocolate
  • caffeine
  • garlic
  • chewing gum

Some eating plans may also help improve symptoms of acid reflux.

Voice loss often happens due to acute laryngitis. Laryngitis occurs when your larynx (voice box) becomes irritated and inflamed. Viral infections, like the common cold, cause most cases of laryngitis.

Other causes of voice loss can include:

You can also irritate your voice box when you overuse your voice — like when yelling at a sports game or concert — or from exposure to environmental irritants like pollution and smoke.

Acid reflux can also irritate your throat, leading to laryngitis.

Inflammation of the voice box

Your voice box contains your vocal cords. When you talk, your vocal cords open and close smoothly. As air passes through them, they vibrate to make sounds.

When your vocal cords are swollen or inflamed, your voice becomes distorted and may sound hoarse, raspy, or too quiet to hear.

Laryngitis typically heals on its own and lasts less than 3 or 4 weeks. However, it can sometimes become chronic (long lasting).

Laryngitis doesn’t usually require treatment. Viral infection often causes it, so antibiotics typically won’t help. Symptoms tend to clear up on their own within 3 to 7 days.

If your job depends on your voice, however, a doctor may be willing to prescribe corticosteroids to decrease inflammation.

If your laryngitis symptoms last longer than 2 weeks or are very painful and you have trouble swallowing, you may need medical care. You may have chronic laryngitis or laryngitis caused by acid reflux.

A doctor can perform a physical exam and recommend a specialist if necessary.

The following includes common questions about how to get your voice back.

How can I cure my lost voice fast?

Some natural remedies to help you recover your lost voice include resting your voice, drinking warm liquids, using lozenges, and inhaling steam, among other remedies. That said, medical treatment may be required to treat a lost voice that is caused by an underlying health condition.

How can I get my voice back in 5 minutes?

Depending on the cause, you may be able to get your voice back quickly by drinking warm water, breathing in humid air, or gargling salt water. In some cases, you may need to rest your voice for longer or get medical treatment.

How long does it take to get my voice back?

How long it takes to get your voice back depends on the underlying cause. For example, if you lose your voice due to laryngitis, it could take 3-7 days or longer to get it back. That said, vocal rest, drinking warm liquids, and breathing in steam may help you get it back quicker.

You can typically relieve voice loss at home by resting your voice, staying hydrated, and avoiding irritants. You can also try inhaling steam and using a humidifier to soothe your throat and voice box. A doctor may recommend speech therapy if your lost voice results from causes like vocal nodules or dysphonia.

If you experience other symptoms along with losing your voice, a doctor may recommend other medications or other therapies to treat the cause.

Laryngitis typically clears up on its own, but if it does not, it may be best to speak with a doctor.