How to take good care of your voice
Maintaining optimum vocal health is sometimes just a matter of good versus bad habits. It is impossible to live a single day without using your voice, can you even imagine? Do you dread to think about working as a teacher and coming to school with a strained, hoarse voice? Or as a band vocalist and all of a sudden found your voice in a tremulous, unstable state? We can prevent these horrific scenarios if we follow the following tips:
Avoid misusing and overusing your voice. As much as possible, refrain from abruptly reaching the highest and lowest of pitches as it stresses the vocal box. Speak naturally. Do not scream or whisper unreasonably. Most importantly, if you really had to do those things, as in whispering inside the church or enthusiastically cheering at a sports event, at least do not overuse your voice by exerting too much effort in prolonged periods of time.
It’s about time we tackle vices. Decrease alcohol intake and cigarette smoking, or exposure to cigarette smoke as a secondhand smoker. Alcohol and smoke are irritants to the vocal folds, and how many times should we be reminded that smoking causes laryngeal cancer with its deadly toxins? Be wary of using mouthwash in excess, as they may have high alcohol content. Admittedly, there is another addiction that we modern citizens are guilty of, which upsets our voice box—caffeine. Both alcohol and coffee can rob our bodily systems of water, which keeps the walls of the voice box moisturized so they can vibrate smoothly and create sound. So keep yourself hydrated by replenishing with good ol’ water. About six to eight glasses a day will suffice.
If you are sick or suffering from any condition, consult a doctor. There are afflictions from which vocal problems or hoarseness originate as symptoms. From common colds to heavier cases like stroke or trauma, or infections and allergies, the doctor will provide the necessary intervention to cure the condition, consequently curing vocal problems. Rest your voice and limit speaking when sick to give time for healing. Even physical fatigue can debilitate the voice.
Modify poor environmental factors. If you live in areas where the climate is less humid, consider getting a humidifier for ample moisture.
Proper diet cannot be stressed enough. Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which contain vitamin A, E, and C necessary for maintaining healthy structures of the vocal folds. Limit intake of spicy foods as they cause stomach acid to move upward our esophagus, leading to a diagnosis of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease—threats to our vocal health.
Breathe efficiently when singing or speaking. Gather the air not only from the throat, but from the chest and diaphragm as professional singers do. This provides enough support and source of air, keeping our vocal folds from wearing out. One can achieve this by being conscious of inhaling. Make sure that as you inhale, it is your stomach area that expands and not merely the upper chest.
Exercise regularly. Not only does this give us fit and “in shape” bodies, but this also does our vocal health a favor by promoting proper posture and muscle tone. It also boosts our stamina, keeping sickness at bay.
That wasn’t so complicated, was it? If you think about it, the benefits of most aforementioned tips do not solely address our vocal health, but also the rest of our body. In conclusion, taking care of your vocal health is also a holistic process. You take care of your vocal health, and you also invigorate your own physical wholeness and wellness.
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