From teachers to singers to doctors, it is important for those who spend hours speaking each day to learn how to take care of their voice.
“Vocal folds are just like any other muscle and can be injured when they are not cared for properly,” said Dr. Gregory Postma, professor of otolaryngology and director of the Medical College of Georgia’s Center for Voice, Airway, and Swallowing Disorders. “When the voice is not working at an optimal level, it can lead to various issues, including vocal fatigue, throat pain and a hoarse speaking voice.”
World Voice Day is April 16, and Postma is offering the following tips to keep your voice healthy.
Include vocal rest in your regimen. If you have to speak for long periods of time, make time for vocal rest by lessening the amount of talking whenever possible.
Stay hydrated. Alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate the vocal cords and dry vocal cords require more effort to get them moving. Instead, drink plenty of water to not only stay hydrated, but also to help the vocal cords vibrate more easily.
Warm up your voice. Doing simple vocal exercises, such as lips trills, will help warm up your voice and lower your chances of injuring a vocal cord.
Take note of your medications. Limit the use of medications that dry out the vocal cords, such as common cold and allergy medicines. If you begin experiencing voice problems, speak with your doctor.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet. Avoid smoking, as it can irritate the vocal folds, and get enough rest, since fatigue can hurt the voice.
Postma also says repeatedly clearing the throat can irritate vocal cord tissue. To prevent this from happening, increase nasal moisture to minimize the irritation causing you to cough.
Dr. Gregory Postma is a leading expert in voice disorders, professional and singing voice care and swallowing disorders. If you are interested in scheduling an interview with Postma and capturing footage of him conducting a laryngeal exam, contact Danielle Harris at 706-564-9282.