Everyone uses their voice, but not everyone knows how to keep it healthy, or what to do when it's just not working right. This article will help everyone learn how to heal their hurting voice and also give advice on how to keep it healthy and strong for the future.
If your voice is severely injured, then the most important thing to do right now is stop using it. Voices need rest. Limit your conversations, learn to speak more succinctly, and spend a little more time in silence.
Another great thing that helps an injured voice is hot tea with a little lemon and honey. My favorite is Throat Coat Tea. You can find it with herbal medications in your local pharmacy, grocery store, or specialty store. Drink at least a cup in the morning and a cup at night.
What if there was something that could help heal your voice and also be used to protect it everyday? There is. It's called... water. Drink lots and lots of water everyday to stay nice and hydrated. Staying hydrated helps to keep your body healthy and your voice ready to work!
No water? Then simply keep a stash of hard candies, mints, and cough drops in your bag. Use the candies and mints daily to help keep your mouth and throat wet, and use the cough drops when you feel those big coughs coming on. Be careful though, too many cough drops can make your mouth and throat feel dry and pained. Use caution.
If you have been coughing, and cough drops and medicines just aren't doing it for you, I have two great strategies. First of all, pour pure honey on the back of your tongue. Close your mouth and "melt" the honey down a bit, and then swallow. This eases some of the pain and aids in recovery. Secondly, get into a nice hot shower. The steam and the water help to keep you hydrated and also opens up the nasal passages and the throat, helping to clear you of any cough inducing mucus or drainage... at least for a little while.
Of course, to keep your voice extra healthy, it is important to warm it up every now and again, especially if you use it a lot (teachers, parents, lawyers, doctors, singers, telephone operators, etc.: I'm especially talking to you!) Some good warm ups include: -A low hum. Slowly move the pitch of the hum up and down and all around. Keep humming, and gently move your mouth like you are chewing. -Lip Buzz. This is a singer's lip buzz, so the lips stay very loose. Pick a note and sing it, but sing it through your lips loosely buzzing. (think of the way you buzz your lips on a baby's belly to get them to giggle) -Light sighs. In a high, light voice just say "ahhh..." like you're having a good sigh. -If you're a singer, you have more warm ups to do! Whichever warm ups you prefer, make sure to start from the top of the range and work your way down. It will make you less likely to strain for high notes, and eliminating strain on the voice is a very good thing.
Finally, here are some other things you can do to maintain a healthy voice: -Drink more liquids (even if it's not all water) -Find ways to get around using your voice. If you are a teacher, come up with ways to get your students' attention without shouting over them. Use hand claps or a bell. Parents, play charades every now and again with your kids. It helps save your voice, focuses them, and helps to increase their brain power too. Not to mention, it's kind of fun! -Right before you give a speech, sing in a concert, or present your project to your boss, avoid drinking a lot of dairy (milk, shakes, smoothies, etc.) because you will coat your throat with a mucus-like film, and also produce more phlegm. This makes it difficult to talk for long periods of time without having to clear your throat. -Speaking of which... DON'T clear your throat. Clearing your throat is like smacking your vocal chords together. It is very damaging. Instead try swallowing a lot in succession or "vocalize" a cough, meaning when you cough, cough on a pitch. It helps to work the vocal chords in a healthy way while you clear things out. -Don't smoke. And if you do smoke, cut back or quit. Smoking has negative effects on your mouth, teeth, throat, and vocal chords. If you must smoke, or must be in a smoke-filled environment, go back to your good friend: water. Stay hydrated! Also, it never hurt to get a little fresh air from time to time.
Don't plan to party it up and get wasted and be ready with full voice the next morning. Alcohol dries you out! If you do happen to party hearty but still need your voice, drink lots of water and wake up to a warm shower and a hot cup of Throat Coat tea with honey and lemon. And don't talk until you absolutely have to! Try very hard not to scream. I know it's hard when you're watching your team play ("COME ON TIGERS!") but screaming is one of the worst things you can do to your voice.
When using cough drops, medication, or herbal teas, always follow the instructions on the label. If problems occur, contact your doctor, or in case of emergency, call 911. Always check with your doctor if you are unsure of medical advice. A "hot" shower should still be comfortable to you. Please use caution. These are my personal habits and tricks. I am a certified music teacher with a lot of experience in the study of vocal health, but I am not a medical professional. Please check with your doctor if you have any major concerns about your vocal health.