Whether you are a vocalist, performer, or simply working in a noisy environment such as a restaurant or summer camp, proper vocal care should be on your mind this summer. Here are four simple and practical ways to work with, not against, your voice.
Stay well hydrated
Drinking enough water is essential for protecting your voice. If the voice feels dry, put a little bit of lemon juice in your water. Avoid dehydrating agents like caffeine, gums, sugar candies—all these tend to dry your voice out.
Avoid yelling and screaming at all costs
Yelling to get other people’s attention puts unnecessary strain on your voice. There are several better, non-vocal methods to attract attention. Try using clapping, a whistle, or a bell instead. As best you can, avoid talking in noisy environments such as restaurants.
Speak within a natural breath cycle
This is proactive vocal care. Be sure that you get a good breath before you actually start to phonate (to voice speech sounds). Talking for a long time without bothering to stop and take a breath causes unnecessary strain throughout the throat and vocal folds that can easily be avoided by simply breathing well.
Avoid upper body tension
Activities such as exercising and lifting create tension in the neck and shoulders, which will affect your voice. You can even see this by looking in the mirror—if your neck muscles appear tight, then you are likely carrying too much tension in and around the vocal folds. Massage is a good way to alleviate that. Further, avoid speaking during strenuous activity. If you’re running or lifting, wait to speak until after you’re done.
If you feel that you are losing power in your voice, or losing your voice a lot, see a voice specialist. Waiting longer will only cause more damage, which prolongs recovery time. Finally, never underestimate the power of vocal rest. If your voice is tired, rest it, just like you would any other part of the body.