Voice back after tonsillectomy?

Wednesday Member Posts: 22 Member

Howdy! So I've had the tonsillectomy and neck dissection. Next is the radiation and possibly chemo (the docs have to discuss chemo at the next tumor board). So, as a 45 year old, does anyone have a ballpark idea of when I might get my full voice back? I have been speaking at a whisper for 2+ weeks now, although for the past few days, I can occasionally upgrade to a rasp. I'm not a singer or professional vocalist of any sort, but I do use phone occasionally for work and I used to read bedtime stories to my kids every night. I really want to get back to the stories. We left off the Lord of the Rings right after the Treebeard chapter and "The White Rider" chapter is next, so I'm dying to get back to it! I've read it before of course, but my son has not, so it is still very exciting! I may have to have him read it to me I guess. Anyway, digression, anyone?

So, in short, how long after tonsillectomy does a voice typically come back fully and also, will it go away again once radiation starts?

Thank you!


  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,723 Member
    Story Time


    Mine was  tongue and  neck, with surgery, Erbitux and rads.  I struggled with my phone and conversation voice and ended up seeing a speech therapist (or something) for my voice.  It was very helpful and my talking improved a lot.  I needed my voice for work and it was embarrassing as I knew what I wanted to say but had to choose as few words and as small of words that I could. It was a real pain in the rear-end.

    For you, I do not know, but I would expect you to improve a lot in the first year (sorry about that).  You may be on the accelerated voice recovery plan and your timeline will be less.  It is common for H&N members to travel a ultra-slow path to recovery.


  • Lisa I.
    Lisa I. Member Posts: 16
    Voice Returns


    My husband had tonsillectomy along with 28 biopsies. He was disagnosed with SCC HP 16+, no origination site found. It was stage 3 because it had moved to a cluster of lymph nodes in his left neck. He underwent 35 Rads while also getting 5 chemo treatments with Cisplatin. Treatment was completed in mid Oct 2017. After his PET scan they did the radical left neck dissection also requiring the removal of a muscle in his neck and the main nerve as both were encompassed in scar tissue and this tumor. This surgery was a coup,e weeks ago. His voice has come and gone...whispers, to rhaspy, to total return to his normal voice...and back again.

    Keep well hydrated and if you need to, use saline rinses to soothe the phlegm. My husband ‘s voice varies. But Drs assure us that it will get strong again and stay that way.

    A good friend who also underwent thsee same procedures but is several months ahead of my hubby, has his full voice and no issues!

    Be patient and let your son read to you! Good luck!

    Lisa I.


  • Dean54
    Dean54 Member Posts: 160 Member
    I didn't really have any

    I didn't really have any problems with my voice after the tonsillectomy but after all the radiation is a different story. I am nearly 4 months from all the treatments and my voice is more raspy now especially first thing in the morning then it was thru the whole ordeal.

  • Iskander
    Iskander Member Posts: 8 Member
    12 weeks?

    I had my right tonsular pillar removed November 30th 2017.  Speaking, eating (well everything) was very difficult.  The recovery was very very slow, but for the past month or so, I think I am back.  Avoid yelling (like for the dog) try whistling or clapping instead.  I saw a physical therapist and its the reconstruction that changes the architecture of your throat.  It takes a while...Good luck.  


  • Iskander
    Iskander Member Posts: 8 Member
    Salt water

    I neglected to mention two things that seemed to help my throat/voice.  Every night before bed, I do a thing called "oil pulling" I randomly ran across it on the internet prior to my surgery, and at some point, about a month into recovery it just popped into my head, that it might help.  I swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around my mouth for 5-10 minutes before bed.  (I started with olive oil, but coconut oil is much milder)  It really helped with my healing, then in the morning the first thing I do is gargle with about a 1/2 tsp a bit of sea salt in 8oz. warm water.  It helps to dissolve all that cheesy buildup that occurs after the surgery, and gets rid of that terrible morning taste.


  • Wednesday
    Wednesday Member Posts: 22 Member
    edited March 2018 #7
    Thank you

    Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. I have speech therapy starting soon but interestingly it wasn't scheduled by the ENT for post-surgery. It was scheduled by the radiation oncologist. So, apparently, like many of you have expressed, they are expecting me to have issues with the rad treatments. Well, I suppose that's just one more hurdle to leap before making it to the finish line, and certainly not the worst thing.

  • Drainoo
    Drainoo Member Posts: 1
    your voice

    I think you will find that your voice will improve with use. I like to sing along while driving and or talk to the news man/woman. Yelling out of the car window helps. I was also given a list of exercises to do so I do that when I remember it. Neck stretches are so important if you ever want to stretch around  another hamburger.