Ashford Clinic Blog
5 Tips for a Healthy Voice
The human voice is the most commonly used form of communication and an extremely valuable resource. With that said, it is incredibly easy to cause damage to your voice without even knowing it. It is estimated that approximately 7 million Americans suffer from some kind of vocal disorder. Individuals who use their voice vocationally, such as singers or people who routinely speak publicly, often have a routine or regimen for taking care of their voice. While a highly detailed vocal regimen is not necessary for everyone, there are certainly some small steps we can all take to preserve and protect our voices from voice problems and disorders. Here are 5 tips to help maintain a healthy voice.
Drinking plenty of water (68 glasses daily) is essential for overall health, but it is also one of the best ways to keep your voice healthy. Because your vocal cords vibrate incredibly fast, staying well hydrated helps to keep them lubricated. Alcohol and caffeine cause dehydration, so avoid or moderate your intake of those substances. However, foods that contain a lot of water, like apples, pears, watermelon, plums, grapes, melons, bell peppers, and peaches, are excellent snacks to help with hydration.
Avoid Misuse or Abuse
Aside from obvious abuses, like yelling, screaming, or cheering habitually, simply talking loudly in environments with lots of background noise can do significant damage. If you feel your voice becoming hoarse, dry, or tired, stop talking. Other ways to avoid misuse include using amplification when needed, speaking at an appropriate pitch (not too high or too low), and using nonvocal or visual cues as needed.
Aside from the obvious health risks associated with smoking, inhaling smoke in any way (including secondhand smoke) causes irritation and swelling of the vocal cords. Just don’t do it.
Give it a Rest
When you are sick, exhibiting hoarseness due to illness or misuse, rest your voice as much as you possibly can. Hoarseness is a sign that your voice is already irritated, so avoiding talking and singing when you are sick is a must.
Don’t Clear It
Clearing your throat is like slamming your vocal cords together, so don’t do it very often. Excessive clearing of the throat can cause injury or voice problems, so simply swallow or take a sip of water to avoid the need to clear your throat or cough. If you feel the need to clear your throat a lot, it is likely that you already have something else going on, like an upper respiratory infection or some sort of reflux.
If you have questions or concerns about your voice, voice problems, or maintaining a healthy voice, consult your doctor immediately. For those in the Athens, GA area, the Ashford Clinic is here to help!