Gastroesophageal reflux can change your voice

Heartburn -- or gastrointestinal reflux disease -- is annoying, increases the risk of more serious esophageal illness and, researchers now say, impairs your voice.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, adds to the growing body of knowledge about GERD, which is produced by acid and liquids in the stomach regurgitating back up into the esophagus.

GERD causes coughing, hoarseness and asthma. In addition, GERD patients also often complain of voice changes. Researchers at the USC Keck School of Medicine and University College London, compared 55 healthy individuals with 32 GERD patients and found GERD patients had much more irregularity in voice frequency and amplitude.

Sixteen of the GERD patients underwent surgery to treat the condition, and those people experienced improvements in voice quality -- including those patients who didn’t complain of voice problems prior to surgery.


Poor voice quality could be among the reasons why people with GERD score lower on quality-of-life measures, the authors said.