Curated from ChoralNet.Org – by Lynn Swanson – For your own voice or your students, here’s some important tips!
Taking care of the voice or Vocal Hygiene can be thought of as the care and feeding of the voice.
These are things we do to keep the voice healthy. To take care of the voice, we must also take care of the body.
Here are the facts regarding hydration of your body and therefore your voice ~
To keep the vocal folds moist from the inside, make sure you drink plenty of water.
The vocal folds function best when the entire body is well hydrated. Since fluids and food pass through the pyriform sinus cavities avoiding the vocal folds and air passageway, vocal folds do not receive direct hydration. Rather, the body supplies hydration to the areas of the body that need it foremost. This is why it is important to hydrate on a consistent and constant basis as it does not help your voice if you plan on waiting and drinking water just before your choir rehearsal.
MEDICATIONS AND HYDRATION
Many medications, such as cold and allergy medications, are drying to the body. Try to avoid these medications to help your body stay hydrated.
Your doctor may recommend a mucolytic medication. This is a medication that can help keep mucus thin and slippery. These medications are available over the counter. GUAIFENESIN is the active ingredient. Brand names include Humibid, Mucinex, and Robitussin. Be sure to get the preparation that does not contain decongestants, antihistamines, or cough suppressants.
Many cough drops and throat lozenges are drying to the mucus membranes of the mouth and throat. This is especially true for products that contain menthol and eucalyptus. The best lozenges for soothing the mouth or throat are glycerin lozenges.
Steam inhalation: Inhaling or breathing steam helps the voice box stay moist and can be very soothing to irritated vocal folds. Breathe the steam through your nose for three to five minutes, two to three times per day.
Room humidification: You can increase the moisture in your home or office by using a room humidifier or hot water vaporizer. Cool mist vaporizers can cause chemicals and germs to get into the air.
Room humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent. You can check the moisture in the air in your home by using a hygrometer.
The most important thing when using room humidifiers or vaporizers is to carefully follow the cleaning instructions in the package. If you don’t keep the humidifier or vaporizer clean, germs can get into the air that you breathe.
Allergies to Mold or Mildew: Be careful using humidifiers or vaporizers. They can increase the moisture in the environment and can cause mold and mildew to grow.
Even after maintaining proper hydration and practicing good vocal hygiene, we must always use our voice efficiently with proper breath support and appropriate resonance.
To learn more about vocal hygiene, you may visit: Duke Voice Center.