In the “Quiet Place” movie franchise, talking – or making any noise – is almost certainly fatal. But what would happen in real life if you went without speaking for a long time?

How does my voice work?

When we speak, our vocal cords vibrate against each other because air from the lungs passes through them when closed. This creates a sound or acoustic signal that moves through the throat, mouth, and nose. Speech sounds are then formed by our tongue, teeth, nose, and palate.

What would happen if I were quiet for a while?

Your vocal cords are muscles, and like all muscles they would eventually start to atrophy from disuse. However, if you were concerned that they would stop working altogether, you have little to fear. The muscles that control the voice also control breathing and swallowing, so they would still get some use. Also, your tongue, teeth, and nose would still be used for eating and breathing, so they wouldn’t atrophy. The worst that would happen is your voice would get a bit weaker, similar to what happens as you get older. However, after some use, your voice would return to normal.

Will I forget how to communicate?

Communication doesn’t reside just in the vocal cords. Language is stored in our brain, which is why we can read silently and why deaf people (such as the daughter in “A Quiet Place”) can still communicate with sign language. Therefore, people who are silent for long stretches of time shouldn’t worry about forgetting how to talk once they try it again.

Can CEENTA care treat my voice?

Whether you talk every day or have taken a vow of silence, CEENTA’s ENT physicians and voice & swallowing specialists can help treat your vocal cords. “A Quiet Place” may be a work of fiction, but the premier care you get from CEENTA’s doctors is very much grounded in reality.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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