18 Vocal Health Tips from Speech Pathologist, Debbie Phyland

 

If you are serious about a long career in singing, make sure you follow some basic vocal health guidelines.  Here are 18 tips from a leading voice therapist, Debbie Phyland (Melbourne Voice Analysis Centre).

  1. Routinely drink water – 2-3 litres per day if performing.
  2. Avoid menthol based lozenges as they will dry out your throat.
  3. Avoid Aspirin within a week of singing due to the increased possibility of capillary hemorrhage.  Take paracetamol instead if necessary.
  4. Do use steam inhalation but not with any additives.
  5. Avoid throat gargles which anaesthetize the throat as they may dry and/or may mask the effect of an infection or strain.
  6. If mucous is thick and ropey, consider mangoes or pineapple for breaking down the mucous.
  7. Avoid caffeine based substances such as coffee, tea and coke (drying effects).
  8. Monitor fluid levels in general (if urine is pale, then balance is adequate).
  9. Avoid recreational drugs. Both marijuana and cigarettes can be irritating, burning and drying to the throat causing swelling of the vocal folds.
  10. Try not to eat late at night particularly spicy foods as this promotes reflux during sleep which can irritate vocal folds.
  11. If voice has not recovered the morning after your performance, rest your voice completely for that day to speed up recovery.
  12. Always warm-up before singing and consider warming down after a performance.
  13. Practice singing in frequent short bursts rather than one long session until you have developed vocal stamina and are vocally fit.
  14. Consider vocal fitness in the same sene as general fitness: prepare, rest, healthy lifestyle, etc.
  15. Never push the voice past its limits.
  16. If experiencing throat discomfort symptoms, recognise these as indications of vocal fatigue and stop singing. If they persis, see a Speech Pathologist.
  17. Avoid whispering (this is worse than using low volume).
  18. Nothing is as good for the tired voice as complete voice rest! So put your feet up, relax and turn your voice off!!!