Voicetrainer Blog

Caring for Your Voice in the Fall & Winter

Posted on November 3, 2015 in Medicine for the Voice

 

This time of year your voice may take an extra beating with the dry air conditions, and rampant colds and flu.  What are you to do?  Well some attention to daily voice care may be just what the doctor ordered to keep your voice in tip-top shape.

For optimal performance, the vocal folds are very dependent upon hydration, not only to be set into vibration, but also to maintain vibration.  Otherwise voice breaks and strain tend to develop.  Also, even during illness, the preference is to keep the vocal folds vibrating, gently and without strain to minimize swelling and prolonged impacts from laryngitis.

Here are some tips to help your voice thrive this season:

  • Hydrate:        Use water frequently and throughout the day.  Sips are preferred over massive consumption all at once.  Cold, warm, tap or bottled does not really matter, whatever helps you to get it down.  Use a large glass or sports bottles, and carry it with you.
  • Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol:           Caffeine and alcohol both have drying effects on the voice.   If you prefer not to eliminate entirely, at least alternate with water.
  • Non-mentholated Lozenges:              Water is best, but sometimes a non-mentholated lozenge or piece of hard candy can do the trick providing additional lubrication.  These can be used throughout the day, and are recommended 5-10 minutes before a presentation or performance.  Some to try include: Grether’s pastilles, Hall’s Breezers, Smith Brothers, Pine Brothers, Wedderspoon manuka honey, Luden’s, Werther’s, etc. 
  • Treat Fall allergies:  Allergies are problematic for some at this time of year.  The associated inflammation and drainage can interfere with voice function. Try to avoid overly drying decongestants.  Consider saline rinse, sips of club soda/sparkling water to clear accumulated throat secretions, and consult your physician on appropriate management. 
  • Steam Inhalation:     Use of a steam inhaler 1-2 xs/day for 5-10 minutes each can be very soothing, especially in the setting of dryness, congestion, or irritation.  Vick’s is the most common brand available in our region, and it’s easy to clean.  10 minutes seems like a lot at first, but relax and enjoy it.
  • Physical Rest:            Making sure you get enough sleep will maximize vocal performance and endurance.  Your voice will only be as good as you feel!
  • Voice Rest:    Extended voice rest is typically only recommended following vocal surgery and vocal hemorrhage.  However, brief intermittent periods of voice rest incorporated throughout the day as you use your voice can help to minimize fatigue effects on your voice.
  • Voice Exercises:        A routine of exercises designed for vocal warm-up and cool-down can be designed for you by a speech pathologist.
  • Physician:      See a physician if your voice difficulties persist beyond 2 weeks.

 

A vocal hygiene and vocal exercise routine can be very beneficial in maximizing your daily voice potential.  Contact Voicetrainer LLC for further questions or to schedule an appointment at laura@voicetrainer.com or 202-580-6646. 

~LPV

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