Professional speakers and singers

This section of the guide is aimed at singers, speakers and anyone who uses their voice as their occupation.

Actors, singers, public speakers, toastmasters, academics etc all rely upon their voices to create an effect or make an impact but they are at risk of long term damage.

Excessive use of the voice puts a strain on the vocal cords which damages them as well as affecting vocal performance. If this occurs on a regular basis then it will lead to problems such as throat polyps, hoarseness and even laryngitis.

Some people are fortunate enough to only experience a sore throat or a croaky voice as a result of voice strain but others find that they have developed nodules on their vocal cords or are at risk of losing their voice.

If any of this applies to you then you need to be aware of your ‘vocal health’and take steps to reduce the risk.

Vocal health

If you are a professionally trained singer then your singing teacher or coach will suggest ways of looking after your voice in between sessions. This includes:

  • Warming up with gentle vocal exercises before a singing session or a performance.
  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water but avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.
  • Eat plenty of Vitamin C rich fruit and vegetables as these will boost your immune system and reduce the risk of a sore throat and/or infection.
  • Avoiding smoke filled environments – if possible
  • Avoid clearing your throat
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Use throat sweets or over the counter medicines if you have a sore throat.

It is a good idea to warm up before singing or speaking in order to ease any throat tension. This can involve moving your head to the left and right or dropping your chin to your chest and back up again. This will help to release any tight muscles within your neck and throat.

Practise an exaggerated chewing action as this will release any tension in the jaw and throat. Try humming with the mouth closed and then repeat but this time with the mouth open.

Try and give your voice a rest whenever possible. Take breaks and allow your vocal cords time to settle down and recover. If you have to shout or raise your voice in any way then minimise this as much as possible.

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