STOP IMMEDIATELY. THE DANGERS.
If you’ve only ever cleared your throat a few times, don’t stress. It’s when throat clearing becomes habitual that you’re in danger.
Chronic throat clearing can lead to vocal cord damage.
If you are clearing your throat for less than 2 weeks, it’s consider situational like from a cold, allergies, acid reflux, STRESS, etc.
If you are clearing your throat daily for 3 months or more, it’s consider chronic.
SOURCE - https://www.nbcnews.com/healthmain/chronic-throat-clearers-were-you-1C6436920
Clearing your throat is “extremely traumatic to your vocal cords — causing excess wear and tear,” according to the UT Voice Center San Antonio Department of Otolaryngology.
“When you clear your throat, it's like slamming your vocal cords together.”
Clearing your throat actually causes you to produce MORE mucus.
“The irritation and swelling produced by the throat clearing can cause saliva to sit in your throat. This causes more throat clearing. More throat clearing causes more stagnant mucus which causes more throat clearing, which causes more mucus, etc…A vicious cycle will ensue and the habit can be very difficult to break.”
There are many reasons why you may have developed the habit of clearing your throat, as it is more of a symptom than a diagnosis.
postnasal drip (drainage)
side effects of medications
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP.
This is how I beat the habit.
#1 I immediately stopped clearing my throat. Sounds obvious but just being conscious of it can show you how often you are clearing your throat.
#2 Before clearing your throat, have a drink of water and lightly cough. Sometimes I hum.
#3 HYDRATE! Drink at least 2 liters of water/day. (1/2 gallon for my Americans!)
*If you are drinking this much water, throw in a Gatorade to make sure you’re replenishing your electrolytes, salts, and minerals).
#4 MANAGE YOUR MUCUS.
Nasal saline rinse. (I personally do this every morning, again if my husband mows the lawn or I go for a run outside, and when I’m sick I do it as often as needed per day).
Gargling with warm salt water.
Avoiding allergy medications that dry the throat.
Drinking lots of water consistently throughout the day.
If I’m feeling a bit more mucus-y that day, I limit my milk based coffees or have a licorice tea.
Room temperature apple juice is soothing to the mucus ridden throat. It has enough acidity to cut through but also enough sugar to coat. I keep apple juice boxes in my bag so that if I need them for a performance, audition, event - it’s ready to go. Make sure it’s an organic apple juice without added sugar.
#5 LIMIT ACIDS.
Try to avoid spicy foods, tomatoes, too much lemon, apple cider vinegars, greasy food, caffeine, alcohol.
#6 Warm up the voice even with mucus feeling stuck in the throat. If the voice cracks, just go over that scale again until it feels smoother. I find that the mucus eventually moves if I've been mindful of all the steps above.
If you feel like you can’t manage it on your own, seek a healthcare professional.
Bad habits can be broken and you can break this one and STOP CLEARING YOUR THROAT!
See you soon + stay warm! Cx