Woman, 21, may never speak again after losing her voice in February because of severe laryngitis
Alice has had to give up her job as a lifeguard as she cannot communicate with swimmersShe cannot receive disability benefits until she has had no voice for a year
10:32 GMT, 3 September 2012
Alice Mitchell, 21, shows the sign language symbol for the voice. She has not been able to speak since February
A talkative 21-year-old is facing the prospect of never speaking again after an extreme case of laryngitis seven months ago has left her speechless.
Alice Mitchell, from Rayleigh, Essex, lost her voice back in February this year 2012 after her larynx became inflamed.
More than seven months on and her voice has yet to return with doctors warning the self-confessed 'chatterbox' that she must now face the realistic possibility her voice may never recover.
In an email interview she wrote: 'I
am finding this all very hard as most people don’t understand that it
has affected my life a great deal.
'Most people just seem to think I am joking and they laugh or make jokes, like asking me to repeat things.
'When I go out with people I can’t talk to them because they won’t hear me.'
Alice has had to put her life on hold due to her odd ailment.
bubbly youngster has been forced to take sick leave from her role as a
lifeguard at Virgin Active gym in Thundersley, Essex, due to the fact
she cannot make herself heard to swimmers in the pool.
has also been left frustrated after health bosses ruled she must be
without her voice for more than a year before she can receive treatment
on the NHS or disability benefits.
Laryngitis occurs when the larynx (or voice box) becomes inflamed. This stops the vocal chords from vibrating correctly
Her mother Jenny Mitchell, 47, said: 'It’s been a nightmare for her.
'Her vocal cords are okay but the muscle at the back is damaged which is restricting her voice box from functioning properly.
'She’s engaged to her boyfriend Paul and they’re trying to save for their own place but everything is on hold.
'We’re quite a loud family and Alice is a chatterbox but we have had to learn to stop and let her talk.
'If we don’t she bangs the table to be heard.'
Laryngitis is the swelling and inflammation of the voice box which means the vocal chords cannot vibrate correctly causing hoarseness.
Most cases of laryngitis are caused by viral infection, such as a cold, and will usually pass within three weeks. However, it can also be caused by gastric reflux, allergies or overuse causing lesions to form on the vocal chords. These cases are more likely to prove chronic.
Each year in England around 250 people are referred to hospital consultants for chronic laryngitis.
Common treatments include vocal rest, increasing fluid intake, humidity, and voice therapy.