Microsoft word - care of the voice pdf.doc

Locked Bag 2190, Suite 286/91 Longueville Rd, Lane Cove NSW 2066 Phone 9420 8265 Fax: 9420 8265 Mobile: 0418 664 289 ___________________________________________________________________________________
Care of the Voice1

Keep your voice hydrated
frequent sips of water through the day. Six to eight glasses a day is recommended. Avoid dehydrating agents e.g. coffee, alcohol, certain medications These act as diuretics (substances that increase urination) and cause the body to lose water. This loss of fluids dries out the voice. Alcohol also irritates the mucous membranes that line the throat.
Avoid strain from how you use your voice
Eliminate excessive throat clearing or coughing – swallow instead Avoid prolonged periods of loud talking, screaming or shouting Instead of shouting use gesture, facial expression and nonverbal cues. Do not make strange noise with your voice (like animal noises) or use a forced whisper – a bit difficult with Kindermusik Avoid using your voice continuously for long periods of time – program “voice naps” into your day, non speaking times e.g. reading, listening to music, yoga, swim Limit talking in noisy places like discos, cars, crowded restaurants Limit the amount of talking / singing during colds or laryngitis Ensure that you breathe through your nose especially if you work in dry/dusty areas Avoid talking in noisy places. Trying to talk above noise causes strain on the voice. If you are a choral director only sing the parts that are appropriate for your signing range Healthy use of the voice
If you are a performer establish a routing of warm up and warm down Consider using amplification if presenting to a large audience Consider using a microphone. In relatively static environments such as exhibit areas, classrooms, or exercise rooms, a lightweight microphone and an amplifier-speaker system can be of great help. If you sing professionally use monitor speakers for foldback Practice good breathing techniques when singing or talking. It is important to support your voice with deep breaths from the diaphragm, the wall that separates your chest and abdomen. Singers and speakers are often taught exercises that improve this breath control. Talking from the throat, without supporting breath, puts a great strain on the voice. 1 Modified from notes by Karen Isman, Speech Pathologist, and Martyn Mendelsohn, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon, and 010906 Locked Bag 2190, Suite 286/91 Longueville Rd, Lane Cove NSW 2066 Phone 9420 8265 Fax: 9420 8265 Mobile: 0418 664 289 ___________________________________________________________________________________
General health
Do not smoke. Cancer of the vocal folds is seen most often in individuals who smoke. Avoid other people’s smoke, avoid recreational drugs like cocaine Stay in overall good health – eat a well balanced diet, get plenty of sleep and ensure regular exercise Try to reduce stress, be happy and laugh a lot! Use a humidifier in your home. This is especially important in winter or in dry climates. Thirty percent humidity is recommended. Try not to overuse your voice. Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is hoarse. Wash your hands often to prevent colds and flu. Include plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. These foods contain vitamins A, E, and C. They also help keep the mucus membranes that line the throat healthy. Do not cradle the phone when talking. Cradling the phone between the head and shoulder for extended periods of time can cause muscle tension in the neck. Exercise regularly. Exercise increases stamina and muscle tone. This helps provide good posture and breathing, which are necessary for proper speaking. Get enough rest. Physical fatigue has a negative effect on voice.
Avoid / reduce reflux
Modifying diet – reduce coffee, chocolate, tea, alcohol, carbonated drinks, spicy or other foods known to irritate you Sleep with bed blocks to elevate the bed head to help gravity keep the acid down at night Use antacids after meals and before bed, talk to doctor about medicines such as zantac, pepcidine, losec or nexium – to reduce acid production
Reduce irritants
Reduce irritants in your environment e.g. chemicals, fumes, smoke, dust, chalk Avoid eating spicy foods. Spicy foods can cause stomach acid to move into the throat or esophagus (reflux). Avoid mouthwash or gargles that contain alcohol or irritating chemicals. If you still wish to use a mouthwash that contains alcohol, limit your use to oral rinsing. If gargling is necessary, use a salt water solution. Locked Bag 2190, Suite 286/91 Longueville Rd, Lane Cove NSW 2066 Phone 9420 8265 Fax: 9420 8265 Mobile: 0418 664 289 ___________________________________________________________________________________ Avoid using mouthwash to treat persistent bad breath. Halitosis (bad breath) may be the result of a problem that mouthwash can't cure, such as low grade infections in the nose, sinuses, tonsils, gums, or lungs, as well as from gastric reflux from the stomach. Other medications
If you use an asthma puffer, make sure you wash your mouth out well and brush your tongue after taking a puffer, to get rid of any powder residue that may settle on the larynx and cause irritation. Prolonged hoarseness
If you are hoarse longer than 2-3 weeks, or have a complete loss or severe change in voice lasting longer than a few days, consult an otolaryngologist. Prolonged hoarseness may be a sign of a serious health problem requiring medical treatment. Keep in mind that most voice problems are reversible and can be successfully treated when diagnosed early. How do you know when your voice is not healthy?
Have you lost your ability to hit some high notes when singing? Does your throat often feel raw, achy, or strained? Do you find yourself repeatedly clearing your throat? Professional assistance
If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you may be experiencing a voice problem. You should consult a doctor. An otolaryngologist is the physician and surgeon who specialises in diseases or disorders of the ears, nose, and throat. He or she can determine the underlying cause of your voice problem. A speech-language pathologist who is experienced in treating voice problems can provide education on healthy use of the voice and instruction in proper voice techniques.



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