Throat Clearing Causes Long-Term Damage To Vocal Cords, Doctor Says

Aric Mitchell

A doctor in Chicago has confirmed what many singers have known for years: throat clearing can cause long-term damage to your voice and vocal cords.

Dr. Brian Rotskoff of the Clarity Allergy Center said in a statement reported by UPI that your "throat and vocal cords take repeated abuse with constant clearing."

"Even if you don't feel discomfort there can be lasting damage to your throat and voice," Rotskoff added, calling throat clearing behaviors "a symptom, not a condition."

Medical Daily noted that culprits for chronic throat clearing can include asthma, seasonal allergic rhinitis (more commonly known as hay fever), chronic sinus infections, acid reflux, side effects from blood pressure medication, laryngeal sensory neuropathy, and behavioral habituation.

Rotskoff said many of the patients, who book appointments with his office do so at the request of loved ones.

"Often it's the spouse of a throat clearer that pushes them in my door. It's like chronic snoring because it's pain-free, those around you are the most bothered," said Rotskoff, adding that when throat clearing continues, it can become cyclical.

In other words, it can morph into a behavior that persists even after the initial cause has passed. That's why you may have a friend or family member, who is always clearing his throat even though nothing appears to be wrong.

In August 2012, singer Nicki Minaj was sidelined from a UK concert due to vocal cord issues. Most recently, the Icelandic singer Bjork had a successful surgery for her own voice troubles.

Do you or a friend or family member suffer from vocal cord problems?

[Image via ShutterStock]