Vocal Hygiene: Episode #2!

January 21, 2019
*Refer to Vocal Hygiene: Episode #1 for the appropriate foundational information about vocal hygiene. A second essential aspect of vocal hygiene is reducing inefficient use of the vocal mechanism (previously referred to in voice literature as vocal abuse, vocal misuse, and/or vocal overuse). Any behaviors, activities, or habits that have the potential for causing trauma to or negative effects on the larynx (voicebox), vocal folds (vocal cords), and/or voice in general can be categorized here. Numerous factors impact the health and performance of the voice, but some modifications are relatively easy to incorporate into a daily lifestyle and dramatically improve the health and quality of the voice at the same time as preventing future vocal damage. It's all about AWARENESS. Consider whether or not you consistently or even occasionally notice yourself sinking into these common vocal habits and behaviors that can negatively impact the health and use of your voice:
-Clearing your throat
-Speaking loudly (pay close attention to if/when you unknowingly strain your voice when utilizing Bluetooth or speakerphone for phone conversations)
-Speaking for short or long periods of time above background noise (music, television, parties/bars, restaurant noise, cars, buses, airplanes, etc.)
-Prolonged use of nonconventional sounds (whispering, growling, squeaks, imitating animals or machines, character voices)
-Teaching/instructing etc. without amplification
-Speaking, instructing, or singing while sick
-Not managing conditions that affect the voice: sinus, allergies, reflux, lingering sicknesses, etc.
*Also consider your general quality of health, as this will impact the voice as well. Important aspects to reflect on include: quality and/or amount of sleep, overall nutrition/diet, effects of any medications or supplements that you are taking, and/or effects of the environments you are exposed to (dust, mold, mildew, smoke, dry environments, etc.)...
*In addition, be aware of your overall vocal demand (the total amount of time you use your voice and what kind of requirements/expectations you place on your voice/vocal instrument). Just like you would eventually fatigue if you were told to go get on the treadmill and run for 8 hours or more, your voice will eventually fatigue or experience negative changes in quality or function if vocal demands are too high. Consider the importance of creating and maintaining a vocal schedule wherein you include short periods for “vocal naps” and even pencil in time for vocal exercises and a place for hydration goals.
*If you realize that you habitually or even just occasionally engage in any the above behaviors, it is necessary to find ways to reduce/eliminate them and substitute positive voice habits in their place. PRIORITIZE THE HEALTH OF YOUR VOCAL INSTRUMENT. Contact VOXFIT™ for more information on developing an effective vocal hygiene program for YOU, as it is essential for a healthy and dynamic VOICE!

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