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Protecting Vocal Health

By Joe Davis. Published Apr 08, 2023. Last Updated: Jun 08, 2023.
Filed Under: Vocal Health

Considering how to protect your most valuable asset, your voice, should a top priority for every voice actor. A healthy voice is critical for success in the voice over industry, and without proper care, your career may be short-lived. Follow these tips to help maintain your voice's health and a prosperous and long-lasting voice over career.

    • Master Abdominal-Diaphragmatic Breathing

      To reduce tension in your laryngeal (voice box) area, practice abdominal-diaphragmatic breathing. Initiate your breath low in your torso by expanding your stomach when inhaling and contracting it when exhaling. This breathing technique takes tension away from the laryngeal area and provides you with the most air to work with.

    • Stay Hydrated

      Keep your vocal tract moist by consuming half your body weight in ounces of fluid daily. Opt for decaffeinated and nonalcoholic beverages to ensure proper hydration. Staying hydrated helps maintain healthy vocal fold cells and the right amount and consistency of mucus in your throat, protecting your vocal folds from injury.

    • Avoid Smoking

      Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, as it can be detrimental to your voice. Smoking exposes your vocal folds to carcinogenic toxins, causing damage and potentially jeopardizing your career.

    • Limit Throat Clearing and Coughing

      Throat clearing and coughing forcefully propel air through your vocal folds, potentially causing harm to the delicate tissue. If you have a cold or cough, use cough drops to minimize coughing and maintain hydration for a healthy vocal tract.

    • Monitor Dairy Consumption

      Dairy products may cause excess mucus production in some people, leading to increased throat clearing. Experiment with your diet to determine if dairy products affect your mucus production, and avoid consuming them at least two hours before recording sessions.

    • Avoid Eating Before Bedtime

      Refrain from eating within two hours of bedtime to prevent gastric reflux, a condition that causes morning hoarseness and can result in vocal damage. Proper digestion helps maintain a healthy voice.

    • Don't Yell or Speak Loudly in Noisy Environments

      Loud talking and yelling force air through your vocal folds at high speeds, potentially causing inflammation and damage. Instead, protect your vocal folds by maintaining a moderate volume when speaking in noisy settings.

    • Breathe Through Your Nose

      Breathing through your mouth can cause dryness in your mouth and throat. To maintain vocal tract hydration, breathe through your nose whenever possible, except when speaking.

    • Limit Talking When Hoarse

      If you become hoarse, reduce talking and use a breathy voice instead of whispering. Whispering strains the vocal folds and surrounding muscles, so it's essential to keep your throat relaxed, especially when dealing with inflammation.

    • Consult a Physician for Persistent Hoarseness

      If hoarseness, pain, or unusual sensations in your throat persist for more than two weeks, consult a physician. It's essential to take hoarseness seriously and seek medical advice from an ear, nose, and throat specialist if it continues.

As a voice over artist, your voice is your most valuable asset. By following these tips, you can help preserve your voice's health, ensuring a successful and long-lasting career in the industry. Remember, proper care and maintenance of your voice are just as important as investing in high-quality equipment and software.

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