Jan 27 2016

Who Let the Frogs Out? Another 3 quick remedies for voice malfunctions

Published by under Vocal Health

dreamstime_m_2422198One of the most popular posts on this blog is Who Let the Frogs Out? 3 Quick Remedies for Voice Malfunctions. Maybe it’s just the catchy title, but I think the attraction has more to do with the horrible feeling you get if you open your mouth on stage and nothing comes out.  The original article was triggered by a question on Twitter.  After the popularity of the first, I wrote a second.  In those two posts I addressed: what to do if your voice croaks, shakes, tickles, flips, or disappears.

I thought I had about covered it all until one of my readers asked what to do if you have a cough that won’t go away, and you have to speak in front of an audience.  That made me think of other situations I had forgotten to address, and, voila! this post was born.  Thus, here are suggestions for what to do if you have a cough, get cottonmouth, or can’t seem to clear your throat.

If you have a cough, and you have to speak in front of an audience, you may experience such things as trying to speak and coughing instead, prolonged bouts of coughing when trying to answer a question, or a voice that gradually fades away because of inflamed vocal folds caused by coughing.  To take care of this on the spot, breathe through your nose so that the air is warm and filtered and not as likely to irritate your voice, and take several big, low breaths to relax your throat and make it less likely that your folds will spasm, causing more coughing. If that doesn’t work, ask for a glass of water and drink it. Hydration will help. If that doesn’t help, take out a lozenge or a peppermint candy and suck on it.  (You do always have one in your pocket for such times, don’t you?) Finally,  If nothing else works, you may need to excuse yourself for a minute while you cough up what’s making it hard to breathe or while you get a cup of tea. Warm liquids will help.

If you have cottonmouth you will probably just need to keep talking unless it’s too distracting or embarrassing to do that. If necessary, turn around and pull your lips back down over your teeth (a particularly embarrassing result of cottonmouth!), or put your head down and run your tongue over your teeth.  Take a drink of water if you can and calm yourself down by remembering that it’s not about you.  Focus on the audience and what you can do for them rather than what they think of you.  Cottonmouth is most often caused by the increase in Adrenalin that comes with stage anxiety.  Calm down.  Have some fun!

If you can’t seem to clear your throat, drink a full glass of water asap.  The vocal folds are a low priority organ and when you are dehydrated, the heart and lungs always get the juices before your voice.  The answer to clearing your throat is getting enough fluid so that the phlegm you create is thin and runny.  Precautions for this include being well-hydrated before going on stage and having enough iodine in your diet.  The way most of us get iodine is through iodized salt.

Are there situations you’ve faced where you needed a quick fix for a voice malfunction? What were they and what did you do? Please share on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn.

© Alptraum | Dreamstime.com – Frog

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Dec 22 2015

Finally, a 2015 trend you can really use

Published by under Musings


The year in review from the standpoint of Google searches tells a lot about what interests people.  Although my own little year in review is based on searches too, I admit that it cannot compete with the search trends that lead to results such as the Kardashians’ lips or pumpkin seed recipes.  No, people find me because they look for information on “How to sing in a bar,” “remedies for tired voice,” “how to get rid of a frog in your voice,” or my current favorite, “pillow screaming methods to permanently damage the voice.”  Obviously, I don’t understand the complexities of search engines since I have no idea how pillow screaming got someone to my site.

However, the analytics on my blog have determined that your favorite post this year was one of my more serious posts, which helps support my belief that I have something to say that matters and that you actually want to hear it.  Therefore, here it is again, the most popular post of 2015 on Kate’s Voice, How to create a strong voice, Part 1:Resonate. Please share the post while humming “Auld Lang Syne” using mask resonance, and have a wonderful holiday season.  I’ll be back in January with a post on how to get the most out of your voice in 2016.

Thanks for following and taking my message to heart.  I do this because I believe that the world would be a much better place if we would all just communicate more effectively, and recent events have demonstrated a big need for improvements.  This holiday season, enjoy the music and the mistletoe and keep talking to each other!

© Sdecoret | Dreamstime.com

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