With masks slowly starting to come off and more events happening in person, chances are you may experience vocal fatigue, catch a cold, or even lose your voice altogether. So what do you do when you wake up with an uncomfortable feeling in your throat? Here are 4 tips to take care of your voice:
#1: Take a deep breath- in through your nose and out through your mouth
The first thing we tend to do when we experience a sore throat or the loss of voice is panic. We immediately start to think of all the things that may have caused it. We frantically look for solutions online or in the drug store and try to get it to improve in the fastest way possible. Before you even start this spiral, take three deep cleansing breaths. In through your nose, and out through your mouth. Not only will this allow you to calm your mind, it’s also extremely beneficial for your voice. A nasal breath serves as both a filter and humidifier and provides direct hydration to your vocal folds. Do this when your throat hurts but don’t forget about it even when you’re healthy.
#2: Stop clearing your throat and perform a “hard swallow”
Often when we get sick, we “feel” the build up of mucus especially on our true vocal folds. This results in us frequently trying to get the “gunk” off by clearing our throats. The problem with constantly clearing the throat is that when performing it, we tend to constrict our false vocal folds resulting in a pretty intense collision at the level of the true vocal folds. This performed frequently and regularly will provide lasting damage to your voice. Instead, perform a hard swallow. Breathe in through your nose, hold it, swallow with a lot of muscle effort, and then breathe out through your mouth. This will “get the gunk off” your vocal folds in a much healthier and less abrasive manner.
#3: Don’t give up on your siren
The last thing we want to do when our throat hurts is use it to vocalize. While you may not mentally want to get your vocal folds vibrating, science tells us that vocalizing in an easy thin vocal fold position can actually reduce swelling at the level of the true vocal folds. How do you thin out your vocal folds, think of an internal cry or a whimpering puppy dog and hold that feeling. Now siren in a comfortable pitch range. The sound should be soft and clear and may not seem like you are doing much, but this is one of the healthiest positions for your vocal folds. Think of your siren as a vocal massage. Repeatedly doing your thin fold siren will massage out any of the icky sounds and feelings and keep your voice in good shape while you heal.
#4: Practice Silently
It’s really easy to give up and not practice when we’re feeling sick. But who says you have to make noise when you practice? Practice silently! Silent practice is often revealing, and has the further advantage of conserving the voice. Never hold your breath during silent practice and always listen harder to the muscles than the voice! Muscle Effort is a more reliable guide than listening. Once the voice is heard it is too late to change it. Remember that feeling the vocal process is just as important as hearing it. Practice the feeling even when you’re sick. Muscle memory from silent practice will be key to getting you back to normal as quick as possible!
Want to learn more about how to keep your voice vibrant & healthy?