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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

The Importance of Voice Hygiene - Part 2

In Part 1 of our blog on voice hygiene, we talked about how important it is to keep your voice healthy by staying hydrated and avoiding excessive and harsh use of your voice. 

There are many other ways that you can keep your voice healthy!

Here are more tips and tricks:

  • Limit throat clearing and coughing. Doing this slams your vocal folds together which can cause more damage. Try taking sips of water or just swallowing instead.

  • Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing a build up of mucous or phlegm. That tickle in your throat that needs clearing could be due to allergies, acid reflux, or post-nasal drip which can be managed medically.

  • Avoid foods that can trigger acid reflux including: spicy foods, dairy, citrus, tomato-based foods, raw onions, vinegar and mint. If stomach acid is coming up high enough to your throat, it can cause irritation and swelling to your voice box. 

  • Avoid eating close to bedtime.

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. Among other harmful effects, smoking or vaping can be very drying and damaging to your vocal folds and voice box. 

  • Avoid irritants like smoke, auto exhaust, strong smells or perfumes.

  • Use a humidifier - especially in winter!

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake. These types of drinks can dry out your throat and voice box. 

  • Keep your voice and body healthy by eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting good sleep. 

  • Release body tension which can cause voice tension. Take a bath, do yoga or meditate to relax.

  • Lower your volume. Speak using your  “inside voice” — a moderate, conversational level of loudness. Try to reduce background noise and be within arms length of the person you are talking to.

  • If talking to a group or in public, use a microphone or speaker to project your voice. 

  • If you use your voice professionally, always warm up and cool down your voice.

  • Use your breath to support your voice - breath support is essential to vocal hygiene. Pause when talking, as needed, to renew your breath so you aren’t pushing out your voice.

  • Practice voice naps (no talking) periodically throughout the day or when your voice is feeling tired. 

If you are experiencing changes to your voice that lasts longer than 3 weeks, you may benefit from seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor for a full assessment. An ENT may use a scope with a camera to look at your voice box for any problems. You may also want to work with a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). SLPs can help people regain their voice, teach good voice habits and to avoid any further damage.

Do you have any concerns about your voice? Reach out to Engage Therapy and Wellness at 315-810-2423 today and see if speech therapy may be right for you!

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