A common condition that often goes undiagnosed is a voice disorder. Many simply ignore the condition or do not recognize it for what it is. Many have postulated that voice disorders are more common amongst females. This may be because of the fact that many women have jobs and responsibilities that require more time speaking each day, such as teaching, reception, law and administrative assisting. And some women are stay-at-home moms, and young children can keep conversations going all day with a simple question: Why?

What are the symptoms that reveal the beginning of a voice disorder? Don’t ignore it if you suffer from pain when you speak, have frequent sore throats, have difficulties in controlling the volume of your voice or have persistent bouts of hoarseness. You may also experience having to frequently cough or clear your throat while speaking. Smoking and frequent yelling are two habits that can both put a person at greater risk for a voice disorder and should thus be avoided.

What else can you do to help prevent a voice disorder? Be sure to drink the recommended amount of water each day. Keeping your throat moist is the best way to protect your voice. If you frequently have to speak to large groups (meetings at work, etc.), try having a PA system set up so you don’t have to strain your voice to be heard. Breathe properly and practice speaking from the diaphragm rather than straining your voice as well. Limit the intake of liquids that dry you out, such as alcohol and coffee. Finally, try not to overstrain your voice, as in shouting at concerts or sporting events.

If you start to experience symptoms of a voice disorder, don’t be afraid to see a specialist to have it checked out. Your ability to communicate is too important to ignore.