Mar 04 2010

Ten Surefire Ways to Destroy Your Voice

Published by at 11:12 AM under Vocal Health


Not too long ago, someone called me asking for help with his voice.  He wanted to sound like Rod Stewart.  Without batting an eye, I said, “You don’t need a lesson.  Just yell a lot, smoke a couple packs a day and don’t get any sleep.”  He thanked me and hung up.  How about that?  I actually like Rod Stewart, but I wouldn’t want to sound like him, and I don’t usually coach people to destroy their voices.  However, I believe that a person has the right to sound the way they want to sound.  So, with that in mind, here is a list of ten things you can do to ruin your voice, or give it a rough, gravelly sound in case you like that:


  1. Smoke. Smoking does terrible things to your voice and your body.  It’s certain that it will make your voice less flexible, dry and crackly, lower than it used to be, and may even cause laryngeal cancer, in which case your voice will be eliminated.  Perfect!
  2. Scream. My kids used to assure me that there were secrets that their favorite “Screamo” artists used to keep their voices completely healthy in spite of screaming every night on stage.  If you know any of these secrets, please let me know, because screaming is still high on my list of guaranteed voice wreckers.
  3. Avoid drinking water. Since water is the lubrication for your vocal folds, without it you will need to clear your throat all the time, which will irritate the cords and make them more likely to become red and puffy, which may eventually lead to nodules or other permanent damage.
  4. Pitch your voice as low as you can get it and force the sound out.  To help you with this, there are several websites that promote a sexy low voice, so you can even get some help from someone who is not a vocal practitioner
  5. Get help with your voice from someone who is not a vocal practitioner.
  6. And if you use one of those on-line solutions, ignore the notice that says you may hurt yourself doing this!
  7. Push that sound out until it hurts. Don’t take breaks when your voice starts to feel tired. Instead, push it to the limit and then more.  As we say in the voice world, “no pain, no strain.”
  8. Eat a big meal just before going to sleep. Acid reflux is one of the best ways to destroy an otherwise healthy voice, and if you do this night after night,  you may even develop esophageal cancer.
  9. Attend parties and try to speak over all the noise.  You cannot produce a sound you cannot hear, so you are sure to strain your voice trying to speak loud enough to hear yourself.
  10. The next time you get laryngitis, go to the doctor and get some steroids.  Then continue to speak as though there were nothing wrong.  In fact go out and sing karaoke, and impress all your friends with your low sexy sound.  A few days of this, and you may ruin your voice for a good several months, or even permanently!!

If you have more suggestions, I’d love to hear them.  What’s going on with your voice?

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Ten Surefire Ways to Destroy Your Voice”

  1. […] Peters paradoxically offers 10 ways to destroy your […]

  2. Loud Girlon 17 Jul 2016 at 12:12 PM

    Well, I don’t want to completely destroy my voice, but I do want it to sustain damage. (See my screenname for a hint as to why.) The screaming thing, well, every word that has exited my mouth and wasn’t a whisper has been a scream, so far, so I’d say that screaming won’t do it for me. I refuse to smoke, though.

  3. Kateon 17 Jul 2016 at 2:37 PM

    Hi, Loud Girl. I am laughing at your comment since I, of course, intended this post as a tongue-in-cheek look at vocal health. There are a few people whose voices don’t seem to respond to destruction like most of ours, and, I suppose, you may be one of those lucky people…or unlucky, depending on your POV. However, I’m glad smoking is out for you. It’s a nasty habit and destroys much more than your voice!

  4. ReverseSirenon 30 Nov 2017 at 8:42 AM

    Thanks for the help. I definitely won’t smoke, and I hate acid reflux, but all those other ideas are good for me. I really, really hate my voice. I’m pretty sure everyone else does too, but they’re just polite enough not to say anything. The problem is, I love singing. And the more I sing, the more I THINK I’m a good singer. The more I think that I’m a good singer, the more opportunities, like auditions for theatre or competitions, I take. Which, as expected, leads to crippling disappointment and failure all the time. It’s gotten to the point that when I randomly start humming or singing a tune, when I realize what I’m doing, I get SO frustrated with myself. Since I can’t keep myself from going all out and accepting that I just can’t sing, I’m just going to have to take matters into my own hands. I really, really just want to go mute, but knowing myself, I’m too chatty to do that. It would be better if my annoying baby-pitched voice could just go away, permanently, and I couldn’t fix it or try to “improve” it if I wanted to.

  5. Kateon 12 Dec 2017 at 2:26 PM

    You can’t work with a voice you hate. First step is to love your voice no matter how it sounds to you. Then start working on mask resonance and breathing deeply. These two techniques can do wonders for a “baby voice.” You might also try a singing class or working with a voice teacher. Open your ears and heart to the possiblity that you have something to offer since you have such a strong desire to sing. Go for it!!

  6. Ronaldon 15 Jul 2018 at 7:28 PM

    How about poor posture? Example, keeping your head down and attempting to speak, let alone sing. I

  7. Kateon 16 Jul 2018 at 11:51 AM

    Yes, that’s another way to create problems. Thanks, Ron.

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