10 dos and don’ts to avoid losing your voice
Have you ever had the ordeal of losing your voice? From missing conversations, having people wait while you scribble words on paper for them to decipher, or canceling events, assignments, and classes?
I had laryngitis once as a child, and once it was too much!
Here’s how it happens: the vocal cords create sound when they come together and vibrate; when they can’t come together in a healthy way, it makes less sound.
If the vocal cords (also known as vocal folds) are irritated and tight, they can become inflamed and strained to the point where the muscles overcompensate, contract, and prevent the vocal cords from joining.
Laryngitis is basically a vocal cord cramp.
The more you force your throat muscles to create sound, the greater your chances of developing laryngitis, vocal nodules, or polyps.
Vocal nodes are like calluses that can grow on your vocal cords if they are struck too hard and too often, for example, if you constantly clear your throat.
Vocal polyps are like fluid-filled blisters that can burst.
Vocal nodules and vocal polyps can create chronic breathing, pain, loss of range, and fatigue.
What can you do instead to constantly keep your voice healthy, clear, and strong, especially when you need your voice to generate income, create music, save a life, or connect with someone you care about?
10 things to do to avoid losing your voice
- Learn physical and vocal warm-ups to help relax your throat and vocal cords.
- Learn to keep your throat and vocal cords relaxed at all levels when speaking or singing
- Take care of your back and neck so they are aligned (alignment helps keep your throat open and relaxed and your breathing easy).
- Drink lots of water (8 or more glasses a day is recommended)
- Drink hot, healthy liquids like teas and soups (for most people, I recommend hot water, honey, lemon, with 4 slices of fresh ginger).
- Protect your immune system and emotional health with healthy foods and vitamin supplements, especially vitamins C and B12 (I follow the recommendations of Dr. Jonny Bowden at www.jonnybowden.com and also eat healthy Korean foods)
- Take care of health problems such as viruses, bacterial infections, allergies, acid reflux, etc.
- Use a humidifier or steam with essential oils
- Use a natural throat spray, natural throat lozenge, or vitamin C drop to help heal, hydrate, and clear your throat before speaking or singing.
- Clean your sinuses of bacteria and mucus with a neti pot
5 things not to do to avoid losing your voice
- Avoid yelling, yelling, singing, talking, or whispering loudly (there are healthy ways)
- Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke (all smoking, including cigarettes, marijuana, cigars, and pipes)
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, ice, dairy, and nut butters 4 hours before speaking or singing.
- Avoid antiseptic menthol throat sprays and lozenges that numb and dehydrate
- Avoid clearing your throat (try swallowing, light coughing, or warm liquids)
Learning how to care for your voice with these voice training and health tips will help you prevent vocal health problems, so you can ensure that you can use your voice every day to fully live your life and get your work done.