Vocal Health Guidelines
Prevention is such a key element in healthcare these days, and in the world of voice, this notion is no different. As voice care professionals, we at Vocal Essentials, LLC want to educate you on how to best care for your voice. Why? How many of you could really perform your jobs effectively without the use of your voice? We want you in tip-top shape!
An interesting tidbit: How we are perceived when we first meet someone is based a great deal on the sound of our voice. Believe it or not, people make judgments on our intelligence, our ability to perform, our level of popularity/social skills, personality and/or level of confidence, all because of how our voice sounds. People also make comments regarding our health, gender (on the phone), energy and how much sleep we’ve had because of our voice. These judgments are often inaccurate, especially when the voice is not healthy. Voice patients are always complaining about people asking why they are sick all the time when dealing with voice difficulties, not a viral/bacterial illness.
Top 10 Rules to Live By For a Fabulous Voice:
- Don’t smoke anything. Smoking actually breaks down the cellular repair process built in the vocal mechanism so there is tissue build up in the layered system of the vocal fold tissue.
- Stay systemically hydrated. Drink enough non-caffeinated liquids so that you are not thirsty.
- Speak like you laugh and sing. That’s right. At that pitch. From the belly. Your belly moves in when you laugh and it should do the same when you speak. Let it go (release it) to breathe, and you are on your way to the speaking circuit!
- Try not to shout, yell, scream or speak over loud background noise for a prolonged period of time. (Sorry sports fans). This constitutes serious vocal abuse, could result in vocal trauma, and that may require a visit to our voice center.
- Try to avoid substances that can dry out your voice, such as cough drops with menthol, caffeine, and alcohol. Certain medications can be drying, as well, so ask your physician about potential drying effects if you use your voice extensively.
- Build in little vocal naps throughout the day to help with vocal recovery and to prevent vocal fatigue.
- Hoarseness or breathiness that lasts for more that two weeks may signal a voice disorder. We’d be happy to have you come visit us in one of our voice centers to have a voice evaluation.
- Stress can make your voice tense, tight and actually turn into a voice disorder related to muscle tension. Regular massage therapy can be extremely helpful in reducing muscle tension.
- Repeated clearing your throat or coughing can cause trauma to the vocal fold tissue. A silent cough, like saying the sound “huh” with a burst of air but no voicing clears mucous but has no vocal fold contact. Do the silent cough a couple of times (with your hand in front of your mouth, please) and then swallow. This should do the trick.
- Morning hoarseness, a muffled voice after eating or just in general, vocal fatigue, a lump-in-the-throat sensation, swallowing difficulties and heartburn are some of the symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux that can affect the voice. You don’t have to experience heartburn to have reflux. If you have any of these symptoms, you may need to receive treatment for reflux. We can help you determine if you need treatment or not.
Larynx (Pronounced Lar-inks) A.K.A. Voice Box
Your vocal folds are housed within your larynx.
If you would like more information on the voice or would like to receive one of our brochures, please give us a call. 720-317-8303. Don’t forget to celebrate World Voice Day on April 16th!