by Mary Kent Hill, M.S., CCC-SLP, Delia Hudson, M.Ed., CCC-SLP and Kara VanHooser, M.S., CCC-SLP
What is vocal hygiene and why is it important?
- Vocal hygiene is a term used to describe the habits and practices that support vocal health.
- Vocal hygiene is important because the muscles used for speech age just as the other parts of our body age.
How do I know if I demonstrate vocal abuse?
- All of us abuse our voices sometimes. Some examples include:
- Screaming or yelling
- Prolonged talking
- Throat clearing or coughing
- Singing in your car/shower
- Grunting while playing sports
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Consuming alcohol
- Excessive whispering
How can I practice good vocal hygiene?
- Drink lots of water and/or other non-caffeinated beverages per day.
- Eight, 8 oz glasses of water will do the trick!
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Alcohol dehydrates and causes a buildup of mucous that will eventually need to be cleared away
- Decrease or eliminate habitual throat clearing
- Try gargling with salt-water in the morning if you have a buildup of mucous.
- Try to use a conversational level of speech
- Face your speaker and try not to yell or whisper
- Don’t smoke!
- Avoid environmental irritants such as strong smells and allergens.
- Avoid spicy food
- Limit excessive talking and singing when your voice is hoarse or tired
- Remember to breathe!