Welcome to New Leaf Voice! As we start off the new year, I know many of us tend to be aware of making better choices to improve our health. However, as you make those resolutions to eat more vegetables and exercise more, have you ever asked yourself what you are going to do to improve your vocal health? What if I told you that by practicing better vocal hygiene, you could have better voice quality, less fatigue and make communication overall much easier? Great! So I am going to give you some very easy strategies for healthier vocal folds so that you can have the best voice possible going into 2018!
Gretchen's New Year Vocal Tips:
1) Hydrate! Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water per day. (meaning a 140 lb person should aim for 70oz water daily). Your vocal folds are covered in mucosa that get dry and sticky when you are not well hydrated! This results in poorer vibration, and vocal quality.
2) Watch the clock! Your vocal clock that is. If you are in a profession that requires you to talk frequently (teachers, salespeople, etc) you can experience vocal fold swelling and fatigue just from overuse. Rest your voice when you can. Maybe that means keeping quiet during lunch. Or utilizing other strategies, such as having your students/clients read information instead of reading everything out loud for them.
3) Avoid the noise! Trying to talk in a noisy environment can often result in shouting which leads to vocal strain and possible injury. Keep talking to a minimum if you find yourself at a noisy place. Avoid going out to eat where there will be a loud, live band playing. Also--do not try to talk on the phone while driving!
4) Watch what you eat/drink! Certain foods (spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes/tomato sauce) and drinks (caffeine, alcohol) are not only drying but can trigger acid reflux! When reflux occurs this can land on the vocal folds causing irritation, not to mention coughing, throat clearing (which also irritates your vocal folds!)