Apr 12 2010
This Friday, April 16, is World Voice Day. World Voice Day is a day to celebrate your remarkable voice. It was started in 2002 by otolaryngologists and other voice professionals who wanted to focus awareness on the use, care, and problems associated with the human voice. There are concerts, voice clinics and festivals in various cities and educational institutions this week in celebration of World Voice Day. I will be highlighting those events this week on my Twitter stream (@k8peters). Meanwhile, here is a list of 10 things you can do to take care of your voice. This list was created by the American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery.
I love this list because I love my voice…and YOURS and I like this affectionate approach to the subject! So hear you go: 10 simple but important tips to show your voice a little L-O-V-E, Love:
Embrace hydration. Moisture is good for the voice, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated.
Kiss but don’t yell. Yelling or screaming is always bad for the voice, as it puts a lot of stress on the delicate lining of your vocal cords.
Hug a microphone when speaking in public. When you are called upon for public speaking, particularly in a large room or outdoors, use a microphone. The amplification allows you to speak at conversational pitch, yet reach the entire audience. (For a fun take by Adam Lawrence on how to use a microphone, take a look here.)
Warm up your voice by saying a few sweet nothings. Warming up the voice is not just for singers; it helps the speaking voice too. Doing simple things like lip or, tongue trills, or gliding up and down your range on different vowels, will help warm up your voice.
Always clear the air, but don’t clear your throat. Clearing your throat is like slapping or slamming the vocal cords together. Instead of clearing your throat, take a small sip of water or swallow to quench the urge.
Go ahead and look hot, but never smoke. Likely the single worst thing you can do for your voice is to smoke. It causes permanent damage to the vocal cord tissues and is the number 1 risk factor for cancer of the larynx (voice box).
Know what you’re feeling. When you are in a place with loud background noise, you don’t realize how loudly you may be talking. Pay attention to how your throat feels in these situations, because it will often feel raw or irritated before you notice the vocal strain you are causing.
Think good breath support, not just heavy breathing. Breath flow is the power source for voice. Don’t let your breath support run down before refilling your lungs and refueling your voice.
Be a good listener. If you hear your voice becoming hoarse when you are sick, be sure to rest it as much as possible. Pushing the voice when you have laryngitis can lead to more serious vocal problems. (Check out my post called “Who Let the Frogs Out” for some quick remedies for voice malfunctions.)
Check it out. If your voice is persistently hoarse or not working well, be sure to seek evaluation by an otolaryngologist – head and neck surgeon (ear, nose, and throat physician).
For more information on vocal health, there are lots of tips and techniques on this blog. You may also wish to visit www.entnet.org for indepth info from the health practitioners who care for the voices of professional voice users. Post a comment to let me know how you think we can best celebrate World Voice Day, and, above all, keep talking to each other!!!
Update: To Celebrate World Voice Day, why not lend your voice to a cause? Find one for National Volunteer Week, which is the week of April 18th (next week!). Here’s a link to VolunteerMatch to give you some ideas.