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Throat Clearing and Vocal Health

By Joe Davis. Published Apr 25, 2023. Last Updated: May 23, 2023.
Filed Under: Vocal Health

Voice actors rely on their voices as their primary tool for success. One common issue that voice actors face is the need to clear their throats frequently, which can be harmful to vocal health. Find out the reasons behind throat clearing, its impact on vocal health, and techniques to minimize throat clearing and maintain a healthy voice.

Reasons for Throat Clearing

Throat clearing can be attributed to various factors, including the presence of thick mucus, medical conditions, and habitual behaviors. Often, people feel the urge to clear their throats due to thick mucus, which can be alleviated by increasing water intake. Certain medical conditions, such as allergies or acid reflux, may also contribute to the problem. Additionally, throat clearing can become a habitual behavior over time, leading to a cycle of constant throat clearing.

Impact on Vocal Health

Throat clearing can be traumatic to the vocal folds, causing wear and tear and potentially leading to vocal injury. The forceful action of clearing the throat can strain and irritate the delicate vocal folds, increasing the risk of vocal damage. Frequent throat clearing can also exacerbate pre-existing vocal issues, prolonging recovery and negatively impacting a voice actor's performance.

Techniques to Minimize Throat Clearing

To maintain vocal health, voice actors should adopt strategies to reduce the frequency and intensity of throat clearing. Some effective techniques include:

  • Dry swallow: Swallowing saliva can help to clear mucus from the vocal folds without causing strain or irritation.
  • Small sips of water: Drinking water can help to thin mucus and alleviate the urge to clear the throat.
  • Gentle throat clear: If throat clearing is necessary, do so gently, using a puff of air produced in the throat.
  • Distraction techniques: Panting lightly, laughing gently, or humming can help to distract from the urge to clear the throat.
  • Vocal exercises: Speaking or singing through the mucus can allow the natural vibration of the vocal folds to clear any secretions.
  • Awareness and practice: Recognizing the habit of throat clearing and consciously working to minimize it can help to break the cycle over time.

Throat clearing, while seemingly innocuous, can have a detrimental impact on the vocal health of voice actors. By understanding the reasons behind throat clearing and employing strategies to reduce its frequency and intensity, voice actors can protect their vocal folds and ensure a long and successful career. Remember, breaking the habit of throat clearing takes time and effort, but the benefits to vocal health make it well worth the investment.

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