Scientific American spoke with Rebecca N. Gaughan, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor in private practice in Olathe, Kan., to learn the answer.
According to both Dr. Gaughan and my mother, whispering is a good way to worsen a sore throat.
SA: So it's bad to whisper if you have laryngitis?
RG: Whispering is one of the worst things you can do because it's like yelling. It strains, or pulls, on the vocal chords. Instead you want to try to take a deep breath and then exhale as you talk. Try to relax your voice and not strain it.
An uncited commentator claims this to be incorrect but with a caveat of sorts:
"Whispering INCORRECTLY is one of the worst things you can do. But whispering PROPERLY is fine."
So has there been any conclusive research here? The best I can find is "sometimes".
Although whispering involves more severe hyperfunction in most patients, it does not seem to do so in all patients. In some patients, it may be less traumatic than normal voice.
- Is there a harmful way to whisper?
- Is whispering ever ok?
- Can it really make a sore throat worse?