Vocal Health

Vocal health

Sooner or later we all succumb to an illness that affects our ability to perform.  So where do you go to find information and solutions on anything from the common cold through to serious vocal problems?

There are a host of singers and musicians health organisations, non-profit groups and articles on the internet available to all.  Our collection covers practically everything and we will be adding to it as & when we can. Click Here for the Health & Fitness Links.  If you have written an article or are involved in vocal health and education, contact us with the details for addition to this section.

Colds, Flu, Hoarseness and Voice Loss

There have been several questions about what to do when contracting viral infections and the subsequent hoarseness and voice loss so I thought it would be helpful to include a section here for anyone suffering!!  I am Not a Doctor or Medical Practitioner and advise professional attention should always be sought, however as a regular sufferer of Flu, Laryngitis, Pneumonia, and Bronchial complaints I can provide a few tips!!  Regardless of the infection contracted or even if you experience hoarseness and loss of voice through strain/stress the following should aid in prevention and/or recovery.

  1. Drink plenty of Water.
  2. Avoid Tea, Coffee, Cream & Alcohol before singing as these can have a dehydrating effect.
  3. Take Vitamin C tablets or eat fruits/vegetables rich in Vitamin C to aid your bodies natural defenses.  Hot Lemon & Honey or Blackcurrant both contain vitamin C and anti-viral properties and fresh ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties – grate a little ginger and add it to hot water, sweeten with honey if required.
  4. REST!!
  5. Severe, violent coughing can injure the vocal folds.  Cough Syrup and Lozenges can help, Vocalzone are good and reliable sources have informed me that Slippery Elm lozenges and other products are used by some singers to soothe the throat in the US. Triogesic Tablets relieves conjestion, prevents coughing and is available from most Chemists although it should not be taken with any other paracetamol products or decongestants and should be avoided by pregnant or nursing mothers and Dextromethorphan based products also help to suppress coughing although some people may experience dizziness.
  6. Hot Water Steam Inhalation, with or without a few drops of Eucalyptus, Peppermint or other Essential Oil helps to clear the sinuses.  Many proprietry brands like Karvol, Olbas Oil and Vicks Vaporub use aromatherapy oils as their main ingredient but you should be careful using these products as menthol can have a drying effect…. use sparingly.
  7. Do NOT attempt to Sing and avoid Talking until all medication is finished to allow the inflammation an opportunity to reduce.
  8. On recovery start with some gentle humming for 5-10 minutes at a time and slowly build up to a few vocal exercises in your mid-range gradually expanding the range over several days.  The rate of recovery will depend on the severity of illness and how experienced a singer you are.  Any recurrance of hoarseness stop and rest the voice for another couple of days.

I realise that this is easier said than done, especially when an important gig is due!! However, weighing the importance of the booking against the potential damage to your vocal health is a must……….

Recommended for all singers to lubricate the vocal chords are Vocalzone throat pastille. Recommended for relief of irritations due to excessive speaking, singing (professional, amateur or karaoke) or smoking and aid in soothing dry irritated throats.  

Health & Fitness Articles

These are just a small example of the extensive links to online articles and sites we have available in the Health & Fitness Articles & Resources. All links open in a new window.

10 Tips for a Healthy Voice
Article by LiveScience including research and tips from the American Academy of Otolaryngology.

Atlas of Human Anatomy in Cross Section
A fasinating and useful site that provides diagrams of the body in sections.

For Pete’s Sake
Heartwarming feature article by Philip Booth, St. Petersburg Times Newspaper with big band singer Pete Brady who has returned to singing after he lost his voice from accident damage to the larangeal area.

Hoarseness & Laryngitis
Article on causes and a list of folk remedies provided by Health 911, the internet’s most unique site for alternative medicine.

Natural Vocal Remedies
Article by Jeannie Deva provides herbal tips and remedies for singers that can be purchased at most health food outlets.

Remedies for Ailing Vocalists
Tips on avoiding hoarseness with sore throat potion suggestions by Dede Wyland at iBluegrass.com

Symptoms of Vocal Concern
Warning signs and fundimental tips on keeping the voice healthy by Dede Wyland at iBluegrass.com

The Lion Posture
Is a yoga exercise which brings extra blood supply to the larynx and throat and is often recommended for sore throats and associated problems. A variation which includes the use of an ahh sound is available in pdf format Here

The Medical Minute: Water, water everywhere — how much should you drink?
Excellent article explaining the recommended liquid intake by John Messmer, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Voice Repair
Get Excited, We Have the Tools by Diana Yampolsky provides insight on how to deal with voice problems including remedies and exercises.