If you are to keep your voice in the best possible condition a good rule of thumb is to take care not to demand more of your voice than you would the rest of your body. When you’ve been doing some heavy lifting and you feel tension or pain in your back your instinct probably tells you to take it easy for a few hours.
To engage in more heavy lifting without a period of recuperation would be crazy. You’d end up with a back injury, possibly one you won’t get over for many months or years.
Often people don’t realize that exactly the same principle applies to the voice. If you’ve been straining your voice, or over-using it, you must ensure that you don’t keep pushing it. Instead:
- allow for several periods of voice rest throughout the day. If you’re out and about this might mean turning your cell phone off for an hour (trust me, the world will keep on turning). If you’re a teacher it might mean organizing an activity that allows you to rest your voice for a period. Spend some time figuring out what you might do to work a rest period into your day.
It is especially important to avoid using your voice extensively or strenuously when you are sick or when you feel tired. Don’t try to be a hero. Instead:
- rest your voice with your body: it is sick, too!
It’s not always easy to spot but it’s vital not use your voice when it feels strained. Instead:
- learn to be sensitive to the first signs of vocal fatigue: hoarseness, throat tension, dryness. With experience and careful observation you will become more able to recognize these symptoms and more aware of the limitations of your voice.
Sometimes it can be tempting to adopt a “show must go on” attitude. Life is busy and you have commitments to keep and targets to meet, but there’s one thing that will grind the show to a halt, and that’s a badly damaged voice. Do not ignore prolonged symptoms of vocal strain: hoarseness, throat pain, fullness, heartburn, or allergies. Instead:
- consult your doctor if you experience throat symptoms or voice change for more than ten days.
Tune in for more voice care essentials next week.
— Allow for several periods of voice rest throughout the day
— When sick rest your voice with your body!
— Learn to be sensitive to the first signs of vocal fatigue
— Consult your doctor if you experience throat symptoms or voice change for more than ten days