General Voice Care/Vocal Hygiene


General Voice Care/Vocal Hygiene

Who is a professional voice user? The answer is simple: any person who regularly uses their voice at work is considered a professional voice user. The professional voice users include clergy members, attorneys, teachers, telephone operators, actors, teachers, broadcasters, and singers. If you use your voice professionally or you need to speak for long hours regularly, you must consider looking after your voice quality. This care is called vocal hygiene. Professional voice users need to know about voice hygiene.   

1. Keep Hydration

Taking adequate water intake is crucial for our health and body, and obviously, consuming six to eight-ounce glasses of water is a must to maintain adequate Hydration. Therefore, taking sips of water while speaking creates the hydrated internal space in the upper respiratory system to help the lubricating mucus on your vocal cords thin and provide a better environment for vocal cords movements. Caffeinated liquids such as coffee, tea, or soft drinks, increase dehydration. 
2. Thick Mucus

Some people complain of having thick mucus. Increasing water intake frequently helps to solve the problem. In case of excessive thick mucus or phlegm, you can consult with your doctor for further action. In general, dairy products tend to create phlegm, and people who don't have dairy products in their diets reported experiencing less phlegm. 
Despite these measures, some people continue to experience thick mucus in their throat, which can be because of the backflow of stomach acid into their throat - so-called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. 
3. Throat Clearing

Throat clearing is a common habit among people who use their voices excessively throughout the day, such as singers, teachers, lecturers.
People who have excessive phlegm or GERD ( reflux disease) often clear their throats, but these habitual behaviors should be eliminated. Throat clearing is too traumatic to the vocal cords causing wear and tear. 
Instead of clearing your throat, you can use alternative options such as swallowing your saliva and taking sips of water. 
4. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a medical condition that many professional voice users experience. The acid reflux of the stomach can damage the throat and burn vocal cords. GERD is a medical condition and requires medical intervention.
5. Vocal Abuse/Overuse

We always heard "everything in moderation." We can use this saying when we discuss vocal hygiene and the use of your voice. If you use your voice in the following situations with no precautions, you may hurt your vocal cords by abusing or overusing them. 

The situations are: Excessive speaking for an extended time (teaching all day long), speaking loud with background noise (restaurant, bars, concerts, airplanes), speaking with tension and stress (fighting, verbal arguments). In these situations, the best recommendation is to use voice in moderation. If you have to talk all day long (teachers, telemarketers, salespersons), try to take a break from speaking every 30 minutes and drink sips of room temperature water. Avoid cold beverages or ice because it harms your vocal cords. In a noisy environment, we recommend getting close to the person you wish to speak to avoid shouting and screaming. 
Smoking is another harmful factor that damages your vocal cords. Smoking can cause chronic laryngitis, vocal cord polyps, or larynx cancer. 

6. Drugs that Affect the Voice

Some allergy drugs and medications may damage vocal cords and create voice disorders such as dysphonia. Medical consultation is recommended. 

7. Work Environment

Avoid smoke-filled and dusty environments. Traveling to dry climates may cause voice problems that are mostly temporary. Increasing water intake and using a humidifier can resolve the issues.