Professional voice users often experience vocal strain from vocal overuse, but anyone can experience hoarseness from time to time. Here are some tips to protecting your valuable voice.
- Well hydrated vocal cords are more resistant to the effects of stress and strain. Drink plenty of water, and consider using a humidifier to counteract the effects of dry air.
- Modify your diet or take precautions to help control reflux. Stomach acid can reflux high enough to reach and damage the vocal cords.
- Make lifestyle changes that limit shouting, screaming, and talking over background noise. Reduce vocal strain by using amplification in speaking situations. Maintain a quiet speaking voice without whispering, and avoid or reduce throat clearing.
- Eliminate or reduce exposure to environmental irritants (allergens) In some cases, medication taken for other medical problems can have a drying effect which can irritate the vocal cords.
- In periods of extreme stress or physical fatigue, protect your voice by resting it as much as possible.
- Consult a physician if a hoarse voice persists for more than 2 weeks. An evaluation by an ear, nose, and throat specialist should be performed before beginning any sort of voice therapy begins.
Rose Godfrey is a speech pathologist, writer, world traveler, and mom of 12.She earned her Masters Degree from California State University, Chico. Rose is licensed as a speech pathologist in several states and she holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
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