World Voice Day is an annual event celebrating the significance of vocal communication and the latest breakthroughs in voice science and the vocal arts. In honor of this year’s event on April 16th, we have put together some tips on preserving your voice and keeping it healthy.
Voice problems are usually accompanied by symptoms such as hoarseness, scratchiness and changes in pitch or tone. They may be the result of overuse or misuse, a viral infection, cancer or injury. While you can’t always prevent voice problems from occurring, the following steps may prove helpful in keeping your voice healthy.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of liquids to keep your vocal cords lubricated. Experts recommend 6-8 glasses of water a day. Avoid beverages with alcohol and caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
- Refrain from shouting or whispering. Both of these put unnecessary strain on your vocal cords and can lead to hoarseness and irritation.
- Limit throat clearing. Clearing your throat excessively can damage the vocal cords and cause permanent injury.
- Avoid smoking. Tobacco smoke inflames the vocal cords, causing irritation and swelling. This can result in hoarseness and a husky or weak voice. It is also a major risk factor for lung or throat cancer.
- Rest your voice when needed. If you are experiencing hoarseness due to excessive use or a respiratory infection, be sure to give it plenty of rest in order to prevent permanent injury.
Most types of voice issues are benign and resolve on their own within a few weeks, but using the information listed above can help hasten recovery of your voice. Voice changes that last longer than a few weeks should prompt evaluation by an otolaryngologist. Laryngoscopy (evaluation of your voice by looking at the vocal cords) can be performed anytime your voice is not functioning properly, but according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, no patient with ongoing hoarseness should wait longer than 3 months prior to having his or her larynx examined. If you or a loved one is experiencing ongoing voice issues, be sure to contact Sacramento ENT to schedule an appointment.