Voice is defined as the sounds you make when you speak or sing. Unquestionably, your voice is an important medium through which you communicate with the outside world.
As aptly composed in Hindi by renowned poet Gulzar, “Naam gum jayega, chehra yeh badal jayega, meri aawaz hi pehchaan hai gar yaad rahein” which translates to “our names will be lost, the face will change but our voice will be our identity.”
Moreover, for several professionals, their voice is their mainstay such as singers, teachers, doctors, lawyers etc. By imposing great thrust on their voice reeds, they are at the risk of developing voice problems. Hence, let’s engage in some healthy practices to take care of your voice.
- Stay Adequately Hydrated:
You need to drink plenty of water. Though you should refrain from or limit your intake of caffeinated beverages or alcohol; however, if consumed try to balance the implications with plenty of water. It is advisable to take vocal naps or at least a 15 minutes break after an arduous practice session. During the break time, avoid talking or speak in a low voice, if at all needed.
Since your singing environment should contain sufficient humidity, try to use a humidifier, especially in winter or dry climates. Avoid self-medication for common cold or ailments pertaining to the respiratory tract. If you have voice problems, consult your doctor for safe medications that will not dry out your vocal folds.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle and diet:
To begin with, stuff your diet with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables since they are rich source of vitamins A, E, and C. They help to keep the mucus membranes healthy. However, refrain from spicy foods since they are often combined with oil, which can add grease to your throat and can cause phlegm. This dehydrates the voice, which makes it difficult to sing.
Secondly, make an exercise regime that you can follow religiously. This helps increase stamina and muscle tone; thereby, lending good posture and breathing. Get enough rest since fatigue can have a negative impact on your voice. Keep your hands sanitized to prevent getting a cold or flu.
Last but not the least, smoking is a strict no-no since it causes inflammation of voice reeds and increases the risk of cancer.
- Judicious usage of vocal folds:
Practice good breathing techniques and try to take deep breaths from the chest to support your voice rather than relying on your throat alone. Warm up your voice before singing and once done try to sit in a position that allows your neck & shoulders to relax but keep your back straight. Breathe in gently through the nose. Stick your tongue out of your mouth, past the teeth & lower lip, in preparation to exhale. This forward stretch of the tongue helps to open the airway at the vocal cords.
Always maintain good posture like sitting or standing erect when speaking or singing. Avoiding hunchback. Resting the phone between the head and shoulder should be avoided since it causes tension in the neck. You can use an earplug or headphone instead.
Avoid talking in places buzzing with activity since you might be tempted to talk higher than your normal volume and this can strain your voice. Try to use your vocal cords only, when necessary, especially when your voice is tired or if you are sick. Also do not scream or whisper since they are both known to stress your voice. Talking too loudly and too softly can both stress your voice.
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