Taking Care of Vocal Health
Your vocal cords are one of your most important tools, and maintaining proper vocal health is essential to keeping your voice in top condition. Here, I will provide some tips for keeping your vocal cords healthy and your voice sounding its best.
Your voice is one of those things you use all the time, but you don’t really think about it until you lose it temporarily. Whether you’re a professional singer or just someone who likes to belt out a tune in the shower, your vocal cords are essential to your daily life. People with voice-intensive occupations, such as teachers, lawyers, and salespeople, also need to care for their voices. In addition, if you are a remote worker who’s always on conference calls, you enjoy happy hours in loud pubs, or can’t resist cheering for your football team at the top of your lungs, you’re also putting stress on your vocal cords that can lead to problems down the road.
In a nutshell, everyone needs to know how to take care of their vocal health, but first, you should be able to recognise:
Some Causes of Voice Problems
Before we explore some irritants that can cause voice problems, it’s essential to understand how your voice works. Your vocal cords are two thin, smooth bands of smooth muscle tissue in your larynx, also known as your voice box. The vocal cords produce sound when they vibrate and are also responsible for your ability to speak. All in all, your vocal cords play a crucial role in determining your voice’s pitch, tone, and volume.
Now that we know a little more about how your vocal cords produce the sound of your voice, let’s look at some things that can damage your vocal health.
This one should come as no surprise. Smoking is bad for your health in general and can also negatively affect your vocal health. The chemicals in cigarettes irritate and inflame the delicate tissue of your vocal cords, which can lead to a host of other problems.
Allergies are another common cause of voice problems. When you have allergies, your immune system overreacts to things like pollen, dust, or pet dander, which can lead to inflammation of the vocal cords, resulting in hoarseness or difficulty speaking.
This is a condition in which stomach acid flows back up into the oesophagus. Acid reflux can also damage the vocal cords by causing them to become inflamed. If you suffer from acid reflux, it’s important to see a doctor to get relief.
Upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds, are some of the most common causes of voice problems. These infections can cause the vocal cords to become inflamed, leading to hoarseness and the temporary loss of your voice.
Vocal abuse includes anything t excessive strain on your vocal cords, such as yelling, screaming, or overuse. Over time, these could cause voice problems like hoarseness, loss of voice, or pain when speaking.
Knowing the underlying cause of your voice problem is vital, as it can help you and your doctor to choose the best course of treatment. However, you can also take some steps to protect your vocal cords and keep your voice healthy.
Healthy Habits to Improve Your Vocal Health
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Staying hydrated is one of the best things to do for your vocal cords. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your vocal cords lubricated, which reduces friction and prevents irritation. This is especially important when the weather is hot or if you exercise regularly.
Limit Your Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which cause you to urinate more frequently, resulting in dehydration and vocal cord strain. When drinking these beverages, drink plenty of water to rehydrate.
Rest Your Voice
Taking vocal naps or periods of complete vocal rest is crucial for maintaining your vocal health. When you use your voice excessively, it can lead to strain and inflammation of the vocal cords. That said, taking regular breaks throughout the day is important to give your voice a rest.
Avoid Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke
As we mentioned earlier, smoking is terrible for your vocal cords. Cigarette chemicals and other tobacco products can irritate and inflame the vocal cords, leading to other problems. If you smoke, quitting can help improve your vocal health. Also, avoiding second-hand smoke is important, as it can have similar effects.
Eat Healthy Foods
Eating a healthy diet is essential for your overall health and can also help improve your vocal health. Foods high in antioxidants, such as vegetables, can help reduce inflammation. You can also avoid spicy foods, as they can cause acid reflux.
Take Care of Your Vocal Health
Good vocal health is vital for everyone, but it’s particularly important for those with voice-intensive occupations, as voice problems can affect their bottom line. For the most part, embracing a healthy lifestyle and being mindful of your vocal health is all it takes to keep your voice in top shape. However, if you experience any voice problems, be sure to see a doctor to get the treatment you need.