Whether you’re a singer, actor, performer, or public speaker, taking care of your voice is extremely important. After all, your profession requires you to use your voice for hours on end, every day, despite sore throats and under-the-weather days. Check out these vocal health tips to protect your voice and prevent inflammation.
Always Warm Up The Voice
There are a variety of exercises for all ages, vocal ranges, and levels of experience. The first step to warming up your vocal cords is to warm up the facial muscles. Blow through your lips to loosen your lips and jaw, take deep breaths in and out and make some noise along with it (whatever feels natural), and massage your cheeks.
You might think you sound weird while warming up your voice, but don’t be afraid to make some noise. Gently move your voice up and down your vocal range, then move on to humming. Do some lip and tongue rolls. Once your face and voice feel loose and warmed up, try some real notes.
Moisture Is Key
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day; warm herbal tea is good too, but not too hot. Take sips of water in between speaking or singing. Keep a humidifier in your home (and studio, if possible) to add moisture to the air. Dry air irritates the vocal cords by drying them out.
Sing From The Diaphragm
The vocal cords are only one component of the system that creates voice. In order to produce sound, the breath gets pushed up from the diaphragm and through the vocal cords. That’s why you should never start producing voice from the vocal cords – it begins from the core. Relax your vocal cords, face, and throat. Produce the sound from your core (stomach, diaphragm) and chest. It will take some time to train your voice, but a vocal coach can help you.
Smoking and vaping is by far the most irritating thing you can do to your vocal cords. Over time, it can ruin your voice and change its sound. Alcohol is not directly involved, as it passes through the esophagus and not the trachea, but it is dehydrating and inflammatory. If you can’t give up the booze, at least try to keep it to a minimum – and make sure to drink plenty of water in between drinks!
Don’t Sing If It Hurts
Most importantly, don’t push yourself. If you feel a pinch in the back of your throat, this is likely a strained vocal cord. Hoarseness and scratchiness are also signs that you should rest your voice.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is very important that you see a voice doctor, especially if you use your voice professionally. Taking a few days to rest the voice (a wait-and-see approach) might seem like a good idea, but these symptoms should be considered a same-day emergency.
If you notice changes in your voice, schedule a consultation with our vocal specialist as soon as possible. If you rely on your voice for your profession, vocal health should be of the utmost importance. Taking early action is key in preventing permanent damage to the vocal cords.