Welcome to Buoy Health

Learn about your nasal voice, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your nasal voice from our A.I. Symptom Checker. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Your Nasal Voice May Also be Known as:
Hypernasally
Nasally voice

Nasal Voice Symptoms

As cold season comes around, we all suffer from the burden of a runny nose which fails at its most basic functions, smell and the passage of air. But one other oft-underappreciated function of the nose is that of phonation - the ability to speak. When you speak, air from your lungs vibrates your vocal cords to create sound waves. These waves then pass through your mouth and your nose, where their character and resonance are changed to create your own unique voice.

Anything that restricts the flow of air through your nasal passages can give your voice a squeaky nasal sound. Colds, allergies, and congestion are the classic causes.

Nasal voice may be associated with these common symptoms:

Nasal Voice Causes Overview

Most of the time, a nasal voice is caused by congestion of the nasal "turbinates," which are outpouchings of tissue in your nose that help warm and clean the air you breathe. When these become inflamed because of allergies, a cold, or a sinus infection, they change the airflow through your nose and the quality of your voice.

Infectious causes:

  • Virus, bacterial, or fungal infection: Your nose is the frontline of exposure to common germs. If any of these infections take hold, you may get a stuffy nose and change in your voice.

Environmental causes:

  • Allergy: The inflammatory reaction due to allergies can cause nasal congestion and nasal voice. Certain medications like aspirin can trigger nasal inflammation in some individuals through a similar mechanism.

Other causes:

  • Masses: Tumors or polyps can block airflow and cause nasal voice and frequent infection.
  • Structural: Any alteration of the internal structure of your nose, such as a deviated septum, might change the sound of your voice.
  • Cultural: Some accents are just more nasal in sound!

Top 3 Nasal Voice Causes

  1. 1.Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

    Acute bacterial sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected and, in turn, inflamed, which causes pain and other symptoms. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the face that are generally clean and empty but when sick collect excess mucus and can become infected.

    You should visit a physician or urgent care facility in the next day or two. It’s likely your sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection, which requires treatment with antibiotics. In the mean time, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to help with pain & fever.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, muscle aches, sore throat
    Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    clear runny nose, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Check my nasal voice symptoms

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having nasal voice symptoms

    Check my symptoms
  2. 2.Acute Viral Sinusitis

    Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus spaces behind the nose and cheeks. These spaces produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If the nose is swollen or if the mucus does not drain, this can block the sinuses and cause pain or infection.

    You can treat your symptoms at home using ibuprofen (for pain) and Tylenol (for a fever). Antibiotics for this diagnosis are not helpful because this is likely a viral infection.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, cough, sore throat, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches
    Symptoms that always occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Digeorge Syndrome

    DiGeorge syndrome (22q11.2 deletion syndrome), a disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22, results in the poor development of several body systems. Medical problems commonly associated with DiGeorge syndrome include heart defects, poor immune system function, a cleft palate, complications related to low levels of calcium in the blood and behavioral disorders.

    You should visit your primary care physician for observation and possible treatment options.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    hearing loss, facial asymmetry, having more than 10 fingers or toes, delay of baby teeth coming in, developmental delay
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Nasal Voice Treatments and Relief

Most causes of nasal voice are relatively benign and can be managed at home, such as allergies or colds. However, if you experience frequent episodes of nasal voice or congestion, chronic nasal voice, a progressively worsening nasal voice, or nasal voice and/or congestion after using certain medications, you should seek advice from a physician.

At-home treatments:

  • Saline spray: Sprays of intranasal saline can diminish inflammation and resultant nasal voice.
  • Steroid spray: Steroid sprays are effective at diminishing nasal inflammation such as from allergies and resultant nasal voice.
  • Decongestants: Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine can be effective short-term at diminishing nasal congestion, but they generally should not be used for more than three consecutive days.
  • Antihistamines: If your nasal voice is connected to allergies, you can try over-the-counter antihistamines.
  • Neti pot: You can rinse out your nose with a solution of distilled water, salt, and baking soda to alleviate the symptoms associated with nasal voice.

Professional treatments:

  • Imaging and Endoscopy: For chronic nasal obstruction or nasal voice, a physician may look inside your nose using x-rays or a special camera (scope). This is done to make sure there are no masses or structural defects causing your nasal voice symptoms.
  • Medication: Physicians may prescribe medications that reduce nasal congestion in an attempt to fix your nasal voice.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, nasal voice may be caused by a mass or a structural defect in the nasal cavity. An otolaryngologist (ENT physician) can perform surgery to remove these masses or fix these defects.

You should seek help without delay if you have:

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Nasal Voice

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Do you have a sore throat?
  • Q.How long has your congestion been going on?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our nasal voice symptom checker.

Check my symptoms

Nasal Voice Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced nasal voice have also experienced:

    • 12% Congestion
    • 7% Mucous Dripping in the Back of the Throat
    • 5% Headache
  • People who have experienced nasal voice were most often matched with:

    • 22% Acute Viral Sinusitis
    • 13% Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

Check my nasal voice symptoms

Try our nasal voice symptom checker to diagnose your current condition

Check my symptoms

Check my nasal voice symptoms

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having nasal voice symptoms

Check my symptoms