Caring for Your Voice

No matter who you are, you must care for your voice so that it’s there when you need it. Those of us who use it professionally and present speeches or broadcast for a living, must take even better care as we use and abuse our voices more.

Remember that there should never be discomfort. If your voice gets tired, that’s one thing. All muscles do at some point if they are used enough. However, your vocal muscles should never HURT. If they do, stop what you’re doing and get professional advice.

Here are some suggestions to help you stay in top form.

  • Drink LOTS of water. Eight glasses per day should be a minimum, but in winter drink two or three more. Not only is the air dryer, but many of us are drinking more coffee and tea for warmth. Both are diuretics and remove moisture from our bodies which must be replaced. Keep a bottle of water handy.
  • Make sure your voice is warmed up before you speak. The length of time you need to spend will vary depending on the conditions and your individual voice. With practice you’ll begin to find what works best for you. Include some breathing, relaxation and articulation drills (tongue twisters) in each session. Start slowly and gently and don’t ever strain.
  • Don’t yell or scream during sporting and other events. It puts too much strain on your voice.
  • During what’s called in the media the “cold and flu season,” practice all of the standard cold-avoidance procedures. Stay away from others with colds, wash your hands frequently, make sure you’re eating properly and getting enough sleep and exercise. Your vocal mechanism is very vulnerable at this time. Treat it carefully. Also, keep a positive attitude … it can’t hurt!• Try not to cough or clear your throat to avoid putting extra strain on the vocal mechanism. Try swallowing first. If that doesn’t work, drink some water. As a last resort, clear or cough GENTLY.
  • Before you speak, don’t eat or drink anything containing chocolate or milk no matter how tempting that dessert looks! They’ll coat your throat. Your voice won’t be as clear sounding and you’ll want to do what I just said not to do – clear your throat.
  • Finally, if you find yourself losing your voice, don’t speak unless you must. Then speak quietly, but don’t whisper. The technical reasons are too long to explain here, but soft speaking is kinder to your vocal cords.




©2017, Say It Well! Permission is given to reprint this article if the following is included: Reprinted by permission of Dr. Candice M. Coleman. She can be reached at 636-724-3761.