Hoarseness or total loss of your voice is caused by a condition called laryngitis in which the voice box (larynx) becomes inflamed. Laryngitis has many causes, so, if you’re aiming to lose your voice on purpose, you have a variety of potential options. However, proceed with caution – this is usually accompanied by significant pain and/or irritation. See Step 1 below to get started. Note: if you’re looking for how to get your voice back after you’ve lost it, see How to Recover Your Voice After Losing It.
Method 1 of 2: Recommended Methods
Talk, talk, talk. The most straightforward way to lose your voice is simply to use your voice box until it can’t be used any more. Vocal activities like talking, shouting, singing, etc. require the vocal cords of the larynx to vibrate smoothly – with overuse, these cords can become inflamed, interfering with your ability to do these things. Try talking constantly at as loud of a volume as is reasonable for wherever you are. With persistence, your voice should eventually begin to fatigue. The more you talk the better!
- If you’re looking for opportunities to talk loudly and at great length, try signing up for a public speaking class or simply holding conversations in a crowded bar or club.
Sing. Singing can put serious demands on the vocal cords – singing at a high volume or in a very low or high register, even more so. These dangers are amplified if you’re not a trained or experienced singer. So, for a sure-fire way to ruin your voice, try singing at full volume in a vocal register that’s difficult for you.
- Obviously, you’ll want to make it a point to avoid performing warm-up exercises before you sing.
- If you’re embarrassed to sing loudly, try singing in the car with all of the doors closed and the windows rolled up. Other motorists will assume you’re just singing along to the radio.
Cough. Though it’s not uncommon for people with colds to cough until they lose their voice, you don’t necessarily have to have a cold to cough. Any kind of repeated coughing will irritate your larynx and eventually cause inflammation that can lead to losing your voice. Try combining your coughs with one of the other methods in this article for maximum effect.
- As with shouting and singing, excessive coughing in the long term can cause lasting pain and damage to the throat.
Keep your mouth open. As discussed above, a dry throat is a throat that’s easy to wear out. To speed up the process of losing your voice, allow your mouth and throat to dry out by keeping your mouth open throughout the day. This will work especially well if you live in a dry climate.
- If you’re worried about how you’ll look after adopting a “slack-jawed” look, try sleeping with your mouth open instead so that no one will see you.
Don’t drink water. Well-lubricated vocal cords are the enemy of anyone who’s aiming to lose his or her voice. In fact, people who speak or sing in a professional capacity often keep a glass of water onstage to protect their vocal cords. If you’re trying to lose your voice, do the opposite! Don’t ease your worn-out vocal cords with a refreshing sip of water after you’ve been talking, yelling, or singing.
- Be reasonable when it comes to this rule – don’t avoid any source of moisture to the point that you become dehydrated.
- If you’re looking for a water alternative that will wear your throat out further, try a drink that’s acidic or contains dairy (see below for more info).
Consume acidic foods and/or dairy. Certain types of food and drink, especially foods that are very acidic (lemon, vinegar, etc.) and dairy products cause most peoples’ throats to produce phlegm. While phlegm won’t irritate your vocal cords on its own, it does promote coughing, which can. So, if you’re looking to lose your voice, try consuming these types of food and drink in conjunction with one of the other methods in this article.
Drink very cold water. Some people find that very cold drinks can have a similar phlegm-producing effect to dairy and acidic foods and drinks. Try drinking an ice-cold glass of water to test its effects on your throat – if you find that you produce lots of phlegm after a cold drink, you may want to use this method to motivate yourself to cough.
Method 2 of 2: Not Recommended Methods
Yell. The harder you work your vocal cords, the quicker you’ll wear them out. Yelling and screaming strains your vocal cords much more than ordinary talking and should lead to a hoarse or lost voice in a fraction of the time. For maximum results, try yelling as loudly as you possibly can. Keep in mind, however, that yelling like this can be quite painful and may even lead to lasting damage.
- If you’re worried about bothering people with your yelling, try attending an event where people are encouraged to yell, like a sporting event or rock concert.
Give yourself a cold. Often, when someone loses his or her voice, it’s as a result of a recent cold. If you’re really serious about losing your throat, consider putting yourself in situations where you’re likely to catch a cold. For instance, you may want to spend time around friends with colds and get less sleep than you’re used to. Obviously, however, giving yourself a cold on purpose can result in many unpleasant side effects, including fever, nausea, aches, and general malaise, so stay far away from cold viruses unless you’re really serious about losing your voice!
- It may go without saying, but, to be perfectly clear, it’s never a good idea to knowingly expose yourself to serious diseases. Use common sense.
Aggravate your allergies. Allergies are known to cause throat irritation and hoarseness under certain circumstances. If you have a history of mild allergies and have gotten sore throats from your allergies in the past, you may want to expose yourself to allergens to help you lose your voice. For instance, if you have seasonal allergies triggered by pollen, in addition to using one of the methods above, you may want to go for a walk in the park and smell some flowers!
- If you have a serious allergy, don’t flirt with danger by triggering an allergic reaction simply to lose your voice. Severe allergy attacks can be fatal.
Don’t give your voice a chance to rest. With time, the body will heal most throat irritation on its own. If you want to lose your voice, don’t let this happen! The less you allow your larynx to rest, the quicker you’ll be able to lose your voice. Push through the fatigue!
- Keep in mind, however, that you put your voice at risk by doing so. Wearing your voice out (especially doing so over and over again over a long period of time) can cause permanent vocal damage. For example, many once-powerful singers find themselves with diminished abilities after years of vocal fatigue.
- Another thing you’ll want to avoid when trying to lose your voice is acid reflux, a painful condition in which acid from the stomach spills into the throat, causing irritation. Though acid reflux is so unpleasant that it’s unlikely that anyone would try to do so to lose his or her voice, it bears mentioning that repeated acid reflux can lead to a throat condition that’s characterized by higher rates of esophageal cancer. Thanks! Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
- Some things that cause you to lose your throat can be very harmful to your health, so you’ll want to avoid them even if you’re dead-set on losing your voice. For instance, smoking can make you lose your voice, but it’s a very bad idea, as tobacco use has been linked to a variety of health issues, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and many more. Thanks! Helpful 3 Not Helpful 1