Tips for Good Vocal Hygiene

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Just as we take good care of our bodies, it is important to take good care of our voice.  Vocal abuse can hurt the voice and cause voice disorders, which can result in deficiencies in quality, pitch, and loudness. Below are some ways to avoid vocal abuse and practice good vocal hygiene:

  • Keep your vocal folds hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • Eliminate (or reduce) smoking and alcohol intake
  • Avoid yelling
  • Reduce coughing/throat clearing, which slam the vocal folds together at an average speed of 70 mph. Instead use a “sniff-swallow” technique
  • Eliminate (or reduce) caffeine intake, which is dehydrating
  • Avoid taking loudly in places with competing background noise
  • Increase the amount of sleep you get
  • Restrict medications that dry out the mouth, throat and larynx
  • Humidify the environment with a humidifier
  • Balance periods of excessive vocal demands with vocal rest
  • Relax your throat by practicing diaphragmatic breathing
  • Avoid whispering—instead talk quietly when necessary
  • Avoid aggressive laughing or crying
  • Use techniques such as clapping, whistling, or flickering lights to gain attention in noisy environments
  • Speak at a comfortable pitch

Practicing good vocal hygiene will help prevent vocal abuse and/or reduce preexisting symptoms.  A few minor adjustments to your lifestyle can make a major impact on your voice.

-Nicole C.


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