You don’t need to be singing opera every night or giving speeches nonstop to damage your voice. We use or in some cases abuse our voice and vocal cords without even thinking about it. We talk to our family and friends, have meetings and phone calls, and sing along with the radio. Just one too many cheers at a sporting event or scream at a haunted house can hurt your vocal cords.
Keeping your voice healthy with some preventative measures can help preserve your voice with greater longevity. Here are five easy tips to support your vocal health.
Keeping you vocal cords moist is key to maintaining vocal health. Dry cords make it much easier for them to become strained or hurt when you go about your daily communication. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and sip on breaks or between sets or between meetings. You should also keep rooms moist, especially when you’re sleeping. Ditch the humidifier that sucks all the moisture from the air and get a vaporizer instead. Keep it a few feet from your face while you’re sleeping and avoid using fragrances that could dry out your throat.
Soothe Throat Immediately Following Vocal OveruseGargle
After a long or difficult practice or performance, or maybe too much cheering at your favorite sporting event, soothe your vocal cords immediately thereafter before you feel the strain as you speak. Many people gargle with warm salt water, but Nature’s Jeannie™ Gargle Away® takes it a step further with highly soothing, antibacterial and, pain relieving ingredients to quickly soothe and support sore, scratchy, hoarse voices.
Don’t Manipulate Your Voice
It’s tempting to want to imitate someone else’s voice, range or style, but the healthiest thing to do is work with the voice you have. Don’t try to force it into a speaking or singing style that doesn’t work for you. Trying to sing beyond your range or speak in an unnatural tone just puts an unnecessary strain on your voice. Figure out what your comfortable speaking voice and let that shine.
Avoid Certain Foods
Eating certain foods can actually strain your vocal cords. Stay away from foods that cause acid reflux—citrus, peppermint, greasy foods, and anything too spicy. Acid can hurt your throat and put you out of commission for a few days. Dairy products cause mucus buildup at the back of your nose and throat, making you sound funny when you speak or sing. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages dehydrate you and make the muscles in your throat constrict, so it’s harder to sing or speak smoothly. Just remember, either avoid these foods/beverages or enjoy it in moderation so your voice doesn’t pay the price for it.
See a Vocal Coach
If you rely on your voice as an integral part of your career, you may want to consider meeting with a vocal coach. Actors, singers, politicians and public speakers can all benefit from some coaching. In addition to working on form and presentation, a vocal coach can teach you techniques so you’re not straining your voice. They’ll discuss how to project, speak from your diaphragm, and sing properly. It’s well worth the investment to ensure that your voice is strong for years to come.
DO NOT SMOKE and veer away from second hand smoke
This should go without saying, but we want to address it anyway. Not only is smoking bad for your , it can absolutely compromise your vocal health. Even occasional social smokers can have issues and yes, even those amongst a pool of smokers can suffer the effects from second hand smoke. If you are a smoker, there are plenty of resources to help you quit smoking.
Rest Your Voice
If your voice feels strained, simply rest your voice, whisper, take a break from excessive talking, meeting, abstain from the urge to yell at your kids or become vocal with the occasional road rage. Good old fashioned vocal rest goes a long way! Use a pen and paper if necessary to give yourself a break.