Proper voice use involves staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet, reducing stress levels and using your voice wisely.
- Drink plenty of water. Aim for at least eight cups of water daily
- Reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages (e.g. coffee, tea, coca cola) and alcohol. If you can’t, make sure you balance your intake with plenty of water.
- If you’re consistently in a dry air-conditioned room, consider using a humidifier
Maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet
- Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke. Smoke irritates the vocal folds.
- Avoid foods that can contribute to heartburn or GERD (e.g., spicy, acidic or high-fat food)
- Get enough sleep and rest
- Exercise regularly, stretch and maintain a good posture
Reduce your stress levels
- Find ways to manage your stress levels. If you experience high levels of stress or anxiety, speak to a professional who may be able to help you cope with your stress and/or anxiety
Use your voice wisely
- Try not to overuse your voice.
- If you have extensive voice use (e.g., you’re a teacher or a singer), consider setting aside short blocks of time (e.g., 10-15 minutes) throughout the day for vocal rest where you don’t need to talk.
- Minimise speaking or singing when your voice is hoarse, tired or when you are sick.
- If you experience pain when talking or singing, it is best to give your voice a break.
- Avoid using a pitch, tone or volume that is not comfortable
- Avoid using the extremes of your vocal range (i.e. yelling and whispering)
- Consider using an amplifier when you need to raise your volume.
- Practice good breathing techniques. If you are a professional voice user, you may need to consider doing vocal warm ups prior to extensive voice use.
Those who experience hoarseness lasting longer than two weeks, should see an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist for a thorough evaluation to identify the cause of their voice disorder.
Author: M Dharshini, Speech Therapist