Vocal hygiene is an important aspect of your health and should not be overlooked but given the attention and care it needs. This especially applies to those who need to use their voice extensively in their day to day life such as teachers, presenters, singers etc. Hoarseness can occur for a variety of reasons for example overuse, the common cold or a serious throat infection which cause little lesions and bumps to develop on the vocal chords. As sound is created by the vocal chords coming together and vibrating when the air leaves the lungs, if there is damage to these vocal chords the vibration is altered and the voice becomes distorted. Common characteristics of a hoarse voice include a raspy or breathy quality or a change in the volume and pitch of the voice.
Often people experience pain and discomfort with a hoarse voice but even if they don’t hoarseness is a hindrance that can be easily avoided.
How to avoid getting a hoarse voice
- Drink lots of water to keep the vocal chords hydrated
- Avoid smoky and dusty areas as the dry air in these environments irritate the vocal chords.
- Don’t smoke and stay away from second hand smoke
- Refrain from vigorous coughing and throat clearing
How to cure a hoarse voice
- Rest your voice – avoid talking and singing especially in crowds or noisy places.
- Use whispering as a form of communication as this does not cause stress on the vocal chords
- Drink plenty of water to rehydrate the vocal chords
- Avoid or limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink as these act as a diuretic and dehydrate the vocal chords
- Rest up – physical tiredness effects the voice
If you repeatedly suffer from a hoarse voice the problem may be that you are not using your voice properly for example you may be talking using your throat without any help from your breath which strains the voice. Our Speech and Language Therapists can provide education on proper breathing and voice techniques to promote healthy voice use and prevent hoarseness. Our SLTs can also evaluate and treat various other voice disorders such as vocal cord nodules and polyps. Speech and Language Therapy can teach you about good vocal care and proper usage to prevent any future abusive vocal behaviour in a variety of situations.