VOCAL HEALTH - Part 1
Two Lumps In My Father's Throat Led
To This Quick Course In Vocal Health
By Elizabeth Holmes
Voice Actor & VOXtra Staff Editor
For those of us who depend on our voices for a living, itís obvious why vocal health matters. Without a reliable "instrument,Ē we simply canít perform.
But letís face it Ė most of us take our miraculous instruments for granted. Yes, we take precautions to avoid getting knocked out by colds. Most of us also have a few home remedies on hand for occasional sore throats, congestion, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
But we usually donít pay much attention to our vocal health Ė until something goes wrong.
Recently, I discovered how little I actually knew about my own vocal health when I found myself making multiple trips to the otolaryngologistís (throat doctorís) office.
My aging father needed medical care for not one, but two, lumps on his throat. They turned out to be benign (thank goodness!), but the upshot of weeks of doctorsí visits, and all of those diagnostic tests, was that I got a crash course in how to keep my own voice healthy, and warning signs to watch out for.
DO'S & DON'TS FOR HEALTH
What are the basics of vocal health?
The University of Michigan Vocal Health Center provides a wealth of helpful advice:
Drinking water helps keep your voice in great shape. How much water should you drink? The U of Mís formula is:
Vocal cords are delicate tissue. When they bang together repeatedly, nodes and nodules can form at the contact points (thickening those spots, sort of like calluses).
While itís possible to have these growths corrected surgically, an ounce of prevention saves a pound of cure.
Need we say more?
Do Gentle Warm-Ups
This is advised before you use your voice for long periods of time. Most people automatically hum "Happy BirthdayĒ at their natural mid-range tone.
Get plenty of physical exercise. And have good breath support for vocal performances:
Your body needs time to repair. Give it the rest it needs.
STILL HAVE A PROBLEM?
Most of this is common sense and supports your health in other ways, as well.
So, what happens if you follow all of this good advice, and you still have problems with your voice? Well, that's the subject of future articles in this series. We talk about:
See Part 2: First Step To A Cure: Admit You Have A Problem. What Mary Found ...
ABOUT ELIZABETH ...
Author Elizabeth Holmes is a voice actor, writer and audiobook narrator based in Healdsburg, CA. She is also editor of VoiceOverXtra's eBook division.
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