Vocal cords that are swollen due to a viral infection known as acute laryngitis can cause people to lose their voices, explains the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Hoarseness or loss of a voice may also be triggered by acid reflux disease and exposure to chemicals or smoke.
People can also lose their voices when suffering from a cold or the flu or when using inhaled steroid medications, according to WebMD. Overuse of the voice when cheering at sporting events, singing loudly or yelling. Individuals who have allergies or sensitivity to chemicals and those who smoke may also lose their voice due to throat irritation.