Just like your posture, your voice says a lot about you. But your posture only sends a message to the people you actually see. Have you ever stopped to consider that your voice literally speaks for you to the people you don’t see? When you call a company and speak to their representative, you get a mental picture of the person to whom you are speaking – that image making goes both ways. Keep your voice in shape, even if you aren’t a singer or public speaker.  Here’s how.

Daily warm up

You don’t go to the gym and work out without warming up first. Using your voice is the same. Professional speakers and singers know that warm ups are crucial. You don’t need to perform scales or massage your jaw, but there are a few things you can do each day to get your voice ready to go.

When you wake up in the morning, hum a bit. Doing so will raise your spirits and warm up your vocal cords. Lip trills connect breathing and speaking. Channel your inner baby and blow some raspberries; put your lips together loosely and release the air in a steady stream to blow some raspberries.

Moisture is your friend

Make sure the air you breathe is properly moisturized. Use humidifiers to keep moisture at optimum levels. Moisture is what “lubricates” your vocal chords as they vibrate.  In addition, drink plenty of water. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Everyone should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but if you are on the phone all day or your job requires you to spend much of your time speaking, you need to drink much more. Teachers and telemarketers alike need to keep their voice in shape by drinking plenty of water.

Treat your throat with TLC

If you smoke, consider beginning a cessation program. Smoking irritates the throat, mouth and lungs and can cause healthcare issues, including cancer. If you don’t smoke, be sure to avoid second-hand smoke and other airborne irritants. Don’t burn candles or spray aerosols in the air. If you have problems with allergies and post-nasal drip, see an otolaryngologist, or ENT for help.

Constant clearing of the throat strains the vocal chords. If you feel like you need to clear your throat, take a sip of water. Even if water is readily available, just the process of swallowing will help with the urge to clear your throat. Constant throat irritation or feeling the need to clear your throat is a symptom of another problem. Be sure to see the ENT if you find that your throat is frequently irritated or needs to be cleared.

Avoid yelling and screaming. This just abuses your vocal chords. If you must speak in a noisy environment or to a large crowd, use some form of amplification. 

When to see the ENT

If you have frequent hoarseness or throat irritation, you need to see the ENT. If your voice takes on a raspy quality or you find it is hard to hit notes you could previously, it is time to see the ENT.

ENTs are uniquely qualified to treat disorders of the throat and vocal chords. Whether it is upper respiratory infection or strains to the vocal chords, the ENT can expertly diagnose and treat your vocal problems.