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Lost Voice Plot

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"A turkey call?! You lost your voice to a turkey call?!"
Rarity (referring to Big Mac), My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Filli Vanilli"

Losing one's voice is what happens when someone's vocal cords are affected so that their throat feels sore and they either cannot talk or have difficulty talking.note 

In fiction, sometimes whole plots (often episodes of TV shows and short stories, since you can't generally fit this into a whole movie), focus on someone losing their voice.

This could be a subtrope of Sick Episode if their reason for losing the voice is due to a disease, but sometimes, they're not sick, they just lost their voice due to straining it (often due to singing or shouting).

The plot might resolve on trying to get the voice back in time for an occasion that requires talking (like if they have to sing or do a speech, or if their powers require voice activation), and if they fail, they might end up with another character lip-synching them. Other times, the plot might revolve around trying to find ways to communicate with the lost voice.

Often the character will find out they've lost their voice when they try to speak and the sore throat comes on later.


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  • One McDonaldland story arc was entitled "Search For the Runaway Voice". Grimace's voice leaves his body after Grimace says it sounds silly. Ronald, Birdie, and Grimace chase the voice down, and the voice makes other people sound like Grimace when it goes inside their bodies. Ronald, Birdie, and Grimace eventually find the voice in a cave in Scary Mountain, where a dragon has trapped it to make his voice sound deeper. He lets Grimace have his voice back when Birdie compliments his original voice.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In an episode of Macross 7, Basara Nekki loses his voice, making him unable to sing. Since his singing is his weapon against the Protodevlin, he has a hard time dealing with them and Mylene has to sing "Holy Lonely Light" on her own. In the climax, Basara gets his voice back and aids Mylene in singing "Holy Lonely Light" together.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Rose lost her voice after she was captured and raped by one of the military soldiers before returning to Liore as the "Holy Mother" with a child in tow. Fortunately, she was able to get her voice back when Ed was shocked to see that the homunculus Sloth was his mother he created.
  • In an episode of Cardcaptor Sakura, Tomoyo gets her voice stolen by the Voice card, making her unable to speak. Sakura then uses the Song card to lure the Voice card out and get it back.

    Fan Works 
  • In the first chapter of Return to the Past, NOW! Finale, OC Cassidy loses her voice as her body tries to regain control before the Vortex arrives.
  • In The Truth about Mork, a fanfiction about Mork & Mindy, Mork finds himself unable to speak for a while after being in stasis.
  • Another Mork and Mindy fanfiction, entitled Together, has a chapter entitled "Finding Lily's Voice", in which Lily (the neighbour) loses her voice and so Mork and Mindy have to sing her songs for her.
  • The Phineas and Ferb fanfic Vocal Blues features Phineas having mysteriously lost his voice right before a big Christmas concert that the band he and Ferb are part of and in which Phineas is the lead singer is playing at. Ultimately it turns out Phineas' fiddling with one of Ferb's inventions just rendered his voice too high to be heard and a specially built and set mike fixes the problem though Ferb does give poor Phin a heart attack by forcing him onstage to sing without explaining.
  • A scrapped episode of The Pokémon Squad featured a inversion where Red accidentally swallows a voice chip, making him perfectly capable of speech (before, he was only able to talk using signs).
  • The Kedabory Verse:
  • In Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights, Minako Aino / Sailor Venus has the Voice Card used on her, rendering her unable to speak. She uses text messages to communicate until Act III, when she starts using a Magitek synthetic voice box.

    Films — Animation 
  • Annabelle's Wish has the titular calf intentionally give up her temporary Christmas voice to give her human friend Billy the permanent ability to talk, since she found out her first Christmas that he lost it a couple years prior.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel actually has her voice stolen as part of a bargain with Ursula the Sea Witch to become human.
  • In the Blue's Clues special, Blue's Big Musical Movie, Tickety Tock loses her voice while practicing for the titular music show, leading Sidetable Drawer to step in as Blue's new singing partner.

  • In The Dinosaur Who Lost His Roar, a dinosaur named Sid who likes to jump behind his friends and roar at them loses his voice and can't roar, only croak. This gets him teased until he gets his roar back and scares away a T. Rex.
  • Dirty Bertie:
    • In "Elf!", Bertie's dad has to fill in for the Mall Santa because the old one lost his voice.
    • In "Dare!", Miss Boot loses her voice so Mr Weakly has to substitute.
  • Fudge: An interesting case in "Double Fudge". Uncle Feather, the myna bird, inexplicably stops talking for a few chapters and then, just as inexplicably, gets it back.
  • In a Katie Morag book, Katie's uncle Sven loses his voice so Katie has to sing his song.
  • The children's book Lacie Walker, Non-Stop Talker focuses on an anthropomorphic bird girl named Lacie Walker, who talks all the time and doesn't listen learning to listen when she loses her voice.
  • The Faraway Tree. Connie loses her voice in the third book after she is caught eavesdropping in the Land of Secrets. When the Land of Enchantments comes to the top of the Faraway Tree, the children and their friends go there in search of a means of curing her. However, the cure comes with one condition; Connie must never divulge the secret she overheard or she will lose her voice for good.
  • In The Magicians, the fourth-year Training from Hell officially begins with the students being magically muted so they can't communicate with each other, or speak for any reason other than spellcasting. For good measure, any attempts at writing will become unintelligible. As a result, it's not uncommon for the students to go a little crazy from all the silence before the year's up.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Addams Family has the episode "Lurch the Teenage Idol", in which Lurch loses his voice and gets it back when Grandmama sticks his throat with a pin.
  • In the Adventures in Wonderland episode "Lip-Sunk," the Queen of Hearts loses her voice just before she's supposed to give a speech. The other Wonderland characters try to find her missing voice, but in the end Alice cures her with lemon-and-honey tea.
  • In the Season 1 Christmas Episode of The Brady Bunch, "The Voice of Christmas", Carol comes down with laryngitis just days before she's supposed to sing in the Christmas Day church service. Cindy asks a department store Santa to bring back her mother's voice, and whether by coincidence or by a miracle, Carol does recover just in time for Christmas.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush", one morning the whole town of Sunnydale wakes up voiceless. Chaos erupts with the rest of the country claiming it's a case of laryngitis. However, when Giles' friends see creepy men floating around the streets at night and people are turning up murdered with their hearts removed, Giles makes a connection between these "Gentleman" and a fairy tale called "The Gentleman". The gang soon figures out what needs to be done to save the town before more people are killed.
  • In an episode of Bumble, Bumble the bee loses his voice and Boo the mouse wants to "find it".
  • In Fawlty Towers "The Anniversary", Sybil flounces just before all her and Basil's friends arrive for an anniversary celebration. To explain her absence, Basil tells them one lie after another, including that she has completely lost her voice, possibly wishful thinking on Basil's part.
  • A side story of the iCarly/Victorious crossover "iParty with Victorious" has Cat come down with a severe case of vocal nodules, rendering her unable to speak for the majority of the show. Thus, she leaves all the talking to a speaker headband which works via Bluetooth.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Say No More" has Major Houlihan dealing with a laryngitis attack just before she's supposed to meet a doctor she greatly admires at a medical conference in Seoul.
  • One arc of Mission Top Secret involves Big Bad Neville Savage trying to steal a singer's voice with one of the devices he stole from Sir Joshua at the start of the season.
  • Mission: Impossible: In one episode, the team uses a drug to induce temporary voice loss in a circus MC, so Jim can step up and replace him.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Mr. Conklin loses his voice in "Public Speaker's Nightmare", just before he's about to greet important officials from the national board of educations. Unusually for the trope, the cause is psychosomatic.
  • In one episode of Worzel Gummidge, Mr Peters loses his voice and he thinks it's laryngitis. He seems fine otherwise and appears to have gotten it back when they sing in the choir, though.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the The Book of Pooh episode, "The Words are Out", Piglet loses his voice. Pooh believes that Piglet literally lost his voice and tries to find it. Pooh and his friends later find other ways to get Piglet to communicate with them, and Piglet uses signs that they made to tell his friends that he needs bed rest. The next day, when Piglet recovers, he reveals to Pooh that he had a case of laryngitis.
  • In the Sooty & Co. episode “A Magical Voice”, Matthew gets a sore throat and loses his voice, so Sooty and Scampi build a magical voice box in order to bring his voice back. However, the spell goes awry and it switches everyone’s voices; Sooty and Sweep end up Suddenly Speaking, but Sweep gets Soo’s voice while Soo begins squeaking like Sweep.


    Video Games 
  • The plot of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga begins with Peach's voice getting stolen by the evil Cackeletta, sending the Mario Bros. to the Beanbean Kingdom in pursuit. In a surprise Plot Twist, it was actually Birdo's voice that was stolen, and Peach heard of Cackeletta beforehand but was too late to warn the Bros.
  • In the Moshi Monsters mission "Pop Goes the Boo Boo", Baby Rox has a lost voice minus the sore throat. It turns out that it got stolen by a robot duck, so that the bad guys could mutilate its frequency into one high enough to break Rox down so they could be melted and power an evil machine they were making to destroy the sun. Thankfully, she gets the voice back.
  • In Yuletide Legends 3: Who Framed Santa Claus? The Krampus steals Santa's voice so he can't protest his innocence after being framed for theft.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur
    • In the episode "For Whom the Bell Tolls", D.W. gets laryngitis that leaves her unable to talk. When she gets better, she pretends to still have it because she enjoys being fussed over. Arthur finds out, but he is unable to prove that she's better. Luckily, his friends help him come up with a foolproof solution.
    • Mr. Ratburn loses his voice at the beginning of "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble'', although this doesn't directly inform the plot: it just causes him to be Out Sick from school for a while, with his Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher sister substituting for him.
  • In one episode of Bunnicula, Chester, Bunnicula, and Harold unwittingly hatch a bird that steals their voices and uses them to make a catchy beat. The bird doesn't stop there though. It steals any sound that it hears, including the voices of Mina and her father. The pet trio are forced to chase the bird and get everybody's voices back before it can silence the whole city.
  • In one episode of Buzzy Bee, the mother duck loses her voice.
  • In the Caillou episode "A Frog in Caillou's Throat", Caillou loses his voice and gets a sore throat for a few days.
  • In an episode of Chuggington, Dunbar loses his voice. It turns out he just needed oiling.
  • One episode of Dilbert has Loud Howard losing his voice due to a wave of mutations hitting almost every employee because of the company building's numerous health code violations. The crowd promptly cheers when Howard declares that he lost his very loud voice.
  • In an episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy loses his voice due to a fly getting stuck in his throat. He is frustrated when other people do not know what he's saying and is thrown into a number of unpleasant situations and misfortunes as a result.
  • In the Elinor Wonders Why episode "No Need to Shout", Elinor loses her voice due to her singing all night to practice for an oncoming school performance with Ari and Olive, causing her to get a sore throat. Observing how animals communicate in different ways gives Elinor the idea of acting to illustrate the performance's lyrics, which the three end up being praised for.
  • In PB&J Otter Jelly loses her voice just before she is scheduled to sing a solo. As Jelly had been acting like a prima donna about her talent, the other kids are a little reluctant to help Peanut and Butter aid Jelly, but they do agree to help in the end. The kids all sing together, and after a bit of rest, Jelly is well enough to join them.
  • Happens towards the end of The Flintstones episode "Hollyrock, Here I Come". When Fred, who is the lead of a television program, becomes such an overbearing actor, the producer decides to get rid of him by casually mentioning how many people will be watching him, giving Fred such a bad case of Performance Anxiety that he loses his voice. Wilma manages to snap him out of it by showing him an expensive fur coat that she had charged, resulting in Fred's voice exploding back as he yells for Wilma to send the coat back before he sues the store for selling it to her.
  • In the Jimmy Two-Shoes episode "Happy Birthday, Lucius", Lucius loses his voice after bursting into flames at Jimmy for ruining his birthday cake. Of course, Jimmy has to speak for him through the episode, which only makes him more miserable.
  • In the Little Princess episode "I Want My Voice Back", the Princess is playing Hide and Seek with the Prime Minister and tells him, "No peeking." However, he does peek, causing her to shout, "HEY! NO PEEK—", only to lose her voice. She has to learn to communicate with a bell and she likes it so much, she pretends her voice is still gone when she gets it back.
  • The Loud House: In "Spell it Out", Lucy casts a spell from a book of her grandmother's she found in the attic. When the first ones don't get her the results she wanted, she takes one that casts her siblings' voices away. Having no voice causes the other kids trouble and to undo it, Lucy confesses what she did and tries to use it on herself to reverse its effect on her siblings. They tell her that the spell didn't take their voices, they lost them screaming for their grandfather, but then the grandmother's illustration smiles so what really took their voices is a mystery.
  • Martha Speaks:
    • In "Martha in Charge", Helen gets laryngitis and also goes all sleepy.
    • While she doesn't have a sore throat, Martha the talking dog effectively loses her voice if she goes too long without alphabet soup, which happens in the first episode.
    • Downplayed in "Martha Blah Blah". Martha can still talk but, due to half the letters being subtracted from the alphabet soup, she can only say 13 letters, which makes her indecipherable.
  • Meg and Mog: In "Owl's Voice", Owl loses his voice and gets a cough as well. His owner, a witch named Meg, manages to get rid of his cough but cannot return his voice, instead making him say animal noises. Eventually, the vet gives Owl some medicine which brings his voice back.
  • Mickey and the Roadster Racers: In "Mickey's Perfecto Day", Donald loses his voice after eating spicy Mexican food, a dilemma complicated by the fact that he has to sing with Panchito and Jose later that day.
  • In the Milly, Molly episode "Class Concert", Molly loses her voice and Milly tries to make a jollop to get it back so she can sing in the concert.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • In the episode "Silencer", Ladybug gets her voice stolen by the title villain, which causes the problem of her not being able to use her Lucky Charm power because, as it turns out, Miraculous powers are voice-activated. Luckily, she finds a way around it.
    • She faces a similar problem in "Truth", where anyone affected by the titular villain's powers can only tell the truth, putting her at risk of revealing her identity. She gags herself to prevent this, only taking it off when she's asked a question she can answer with "Lucky Charm". Coincidentally, both Truth and Silencer are the akumatized forms of the same person.
  • In the Muppet Babies (1984) episode, "Once Upon an Egg Timer", Baby Rowlf loses his voice after a ride on Baby Bunsen's latest invention, so Nanny suggests the babies take turns telling a story with an egg timer until it comes back.
  • In the Muppet Babies (2018) episode, "Don't Over Duet", Piggy strains her voice while practicing a duet with Rowlf, so the babies travel through her body in Bunsen and Beaker's miniature submarine to find her missing voice box. Piggy has to learn the importance of taking a break while the other babies search her body, as talking, moving around, and making loud noises all compromise the mission.
  • The My Friend Rabbit episode "Hazel's Voice" has Hazel the squirrel lose her voice (for reasons unknown) and try to communicate.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Bridle Gossip", an exposure to Poison Joke causes Pinkie Pie's tongue to swell up to the point that she can't speak.
    • In the episode "Magic Duel", Trixie, using the power of the Alicorn Amulet, makes Pinkie Pie's mouth disappear. She remains that way for the remainder of the episode, with her even breaking the fourth wall during the Iris Out to gesture that she still couldn't talk, with Twilight coming up and restoring her mouth.
    • In the episode "Filli Vanilli", Big Mac loses his voice and Fluttershy has to lip-synch him with a deep voice that she gets from the poison joke flower.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: In one episode Tigger blames invisible entities called nobodies for items going missing inexplicably and accidentally blows out his voice while trying to capture one, and so Pooh and Piglet think his voice must have been stolen by nobodies. His voice recovers on its own at the end of the episode after all the missing items are found.
  • PAW Patrol did this with Rocky in "Parroting Pups". Rocky has lost his voice and can't use his voice-activated Pup-Pack, therefore Carlos has to get Matea, a parrot, to repeat Rocky's lines to get the Pup-Pack to work.
  • PJ Masks had “Speak UP, Gekko!”, in which Romeo's latest invention steals Gekko's voice. Catboy and Owlette eventually lose their voices too.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) has "The City of Nutsville", in which Bubbles loses her voice for a week due to a bee that landed in her PB&J sandwich stinging the inside of her throat when she swallows a bite. Blossom helpfully gives Bubbles a mini-chalkboard and piece of chalk on a string so that she can write what she wants to say, but this doesn't help when Bubbles is the only one awake to answer the Powerpuff Hotline. (Townsville has become overrun with angry squirrels, and all Bubbles can write to inform her sisters is: "Extra: Townsville's Gone NUTS!!!")
  • The first Rose Petal Place special has Nastina scheme to make Rose Petal lose her voice, ensuring she can't tend to the garden with her magical singing.
  • In the Rugrats (1991) episode "Cat Got Your Tongue?", Phil and Lil's father Howard has lost his voice and cannot speak despite not having anything else wrong with him, and Angelica tells the babies that her cat Fluffy literally stole his tongue.
  • The Seven Little Monsters episode "Gone But Not Four-Gotten" has Four lose his voice, with Six feeling responsible because she wished for her brother to be quiet before he became unable to speak. The monsters' Mama later assures Six that it isn't her fault Four lost his voice and that he simply needs some rest until his vocal cords recover from his overexerting them.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power had an episode where Shadow Weaver steals people's voices, including that of Adora, which causes trouble when she can't use her transformation spell.
  • In an episode of The Smurfs (1981), Poet magically loses his voice due to a spell cast upon him by Gargamel and thus cannot recite his annual spring poem, so to help out, Papa Smurf brings the Cute Mute wood elf Laconia to teach him how to use sign language. Poet does get his voice again when Papa Smurf finds the spell in Gargamel's books to restore one's voice (though due to Azrael's interference, Papa Smurf was unable to do the same for Laconia), so Poet recites the spring poem both by speaking and by using sign language.
  • In the Squirrel Boy episode "Speechless", Mr. Johnson loses his voice as a result of laughing too hard at a comedy film, with Rodney having to back him up at his upcoming speech ceremony.
  • In the first episode of Talking Tom and Friends, which is called "Untalking Tom", Tom loses his voice after using Ben's new app, which electrocutes anyone who touches it. Apparently, it's harmful.
  • In the Thomas & Friends episode, "Too Loud, Thomas!", Thomas loses his voice as a result of trying to practice singing opera like Lorenzo and Beppe. This causes problems when Mia tells him to tell Stefano to wait for Gina so that she can give him her cargo. Thomas ends up having to use his whistle to communicate with Stefano.
  • In the T.O.T.S. episode "Baby Freddy", Freddy contracts laryngitis from singing too much. This results in the parents of the baby he was delivering confusing him for their child.
  • The Vampirina episode "Bat Got Your Tongue" has Vee's voice become hoarse on the day of a Ghoul Girls concert when she sang too much the previous day, and the doctor tells her the only way to get her voice back is if she "speaks the truth". Gregoria uses a potion that can restore it if she admits some kind of truth. Larry Moss, the music manager, says that she can lip sync while Poppy sings backstage. Vee accepts at first, but she feels guilty, confesses, and then gets her voice back.
  • WordGirl: In "Dr. No-Voice", Dr. Two-Brains went out for a night of Villain Karaoke, and now his voice is hoarse, which is a big problem for a villain who loves to talk. Since he can't just stop committing crimes, Dr. Two-Brains hires an actor to serve as his voice in the meantime.
  • One episode of Jane and the Dragon starts with Jester straining his voice right before a singing competition, and he's the only member of the royal court who can sing well. Then Jane discovers Dragon's singing voice is beautiful, but he doesn't want to do it.
  • In the Pikwik Pack episode "You Don't Say", Professor Hoot strains his vocal cords while making a bird call on a nature hike.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: In "I Am Alexander Graham Bell", Brad loses his voice and tries to make Xavier and Yadina listen to him to tell them what game he wants to play.
  • Winx Club: Late into Season 6, Musa has her voice stolen by Rumpelstiltskin and the Winx were forced to trade the Legendarium Key to him for him to give it back.


Musa's voice stolen

Rumplestilskin steals Musa's voice.

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