For many people, their voice is the means of their livelihoods. People in singing, teaching, sales, public speaking, and legal professions have to put a lot of strain on their voices, which results in many vocal difficulties. There are several reasons people can experience problems with their voices, including overuse of the voice, acid reflux, and dehydration. To know more, we reached out to Dr Rachna Mehta Shroff, Head and Neck Surgeon and ENT (Otorhinolaryngologist), popular on Instagram as doctorrmshroff. In an exclusive interaction with OnlyMyHealth, she gives tips on vocal hygiene and how people should take care of their voices.
How To Take Care Of Your Voice
Hydration is very important for your vocal cords. So, keep sipping water, at least two to three litres, throughout the day, which can vary from person to person and in case you suffer from any health condition like that of heart and kidney.
Voice rest, also known as voice diet, Dr Mehta explains by giving an example, “After standing for long hours, you sit to give rest to your legs. In a similar way, if you are talking for a long time, your throat and vocal cords will also need a break, since they are also made up of muscles, just like your legs. So, every one to two hours, give a 10 minutes rest to your voice.”
No Smoking, No Alcohol
Smoking and alcohol are the worst enemies of your voice. It is very common for people to smoke and drink. “Smoking not only causes cancer but also has other side-effects that can have a temporary or permanent damaging impact on your vocal cords,” added Dr Mehta.
She states that alcohol is a dehydrating agent, and it causes dryness in your vocal cords. It also increases acid reflux, which impacts and causes irritation to the throat, affecting your voice.
Avoid shouting and yelling, but if your profession requires you to talk louder for long periods, then use an amplification device, such as a microphone, so your voice can reach all without much strain.
People whisper due to many reasons. Some do it for fun, some for gossip, and others do it to keep their voice healthy or when they encounter any voice problem. “Whispering should be avoided, as it is equally harmful as shouting,” added Dr Mehta.
Avoid Throat Clearing
Avoid clearing your throat since it is harmful and take sips of water instead whenever you feel like throat clearing.
Caffeine is also bad for your throat and voice. Both tea and coffee are dehydrating agents and, like alcohol, increase acid reflux that irritates your vocal cords and throat. So avoid such caffeinated beverages.
Limit Oily And Spicy Foods
Oily and spicy foods significantly irritate the lining of your throat and increase acid reflux, causing further damage to your voice.
Good Breathing Support
Dr Mehta said, “One should not talk or sing till they are out of breath. Take breaks, breath, and then continue. Whenever you feel strained, you can do relaxation. For this, sit in a proper upright posture and drink a little warm water to relax the throat muscles.”
When To See A Doctor?
Give yourself some rest if your voice condition is acute, but if the condition has passed five to six days, you must visit a doctor. You should immediately visit a doctor if there is any sudden change in your voice, along with pain, swelling, or breathlessness.