Voice care is the most important task for a singer. As a singer, you must be able to understand and identify the factors that were affecting your singing voice and the steps to solve them. Anything that is abused or not taken care of usually atrophies. Similarly, if you don’t take care of your singing voice, chances are, you may end up with a broken voice. Here are some of the habits that you should avoid to protect your singing voice.
1) Disparity Between Your Singing & Speaking Pitches
The disparity between singing and speaking pitch may lead to the voice problem. It’s because the Sopranos with natural speaking vocal voices are considered very low in pitch as compared to the singing voices.
Furthermore, some researchers found that speaking in relatively low pitch is the main factor of the vocal problems. It will cause strain since you need numerous muscle and energy to speak at lower pitches.
2) Vocal Fatigue
Vocal fatigue is one of the biggest problems for voice care. It may lead to incorrect voice use, misuse, abuse, or organic or functional problems. If you are in the vocal fatigue condition, your voice may be feeling exhausted and tired. Furthermore, you may feel the dryness in your mouth while talking or singing with an aching throat. As a result, you will need extra effort when singing.
3) Heartburn & Acid Reflux
Heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms also can affect your voice and vocal quality too. In this situation, there is a possibility that two gastric acids called “Gastroesophageal” and “Gastrolaryngeal” reflux push up the esophagus, and it may even spread up to the larynx. And it might lead to a serious voice and health problems.
4) Throat Problems
The other common causes of voice problems are a sore throat, harshness, bitter taste, halitosis, dry mouth, chronic throat clearing, cough during sleep, phlegm, a lump sensation in the throat and extensive warm-up time for singers.
5) Laryngeal / Vocal Fold Paresis
Laryngeal or vocal fold paresis is a type of condition where a person has lost his/her partial or full functioning of the nerve in the voice box muscles. This severely affects his/her ability to sing, speak, and at times, swallow and breathe, which usually happens after an extended use of the voice. It can be mild in some cases and severe sometimes, but people miss it out as a result of vocal cord damage.
6) Side Effects of Medical Treatment
A lot of treatments affect the voice according to medical practitioners. So far, taking a type of asthma inhaler has caused the worst medication found. This causes a lot of patients to suffer from yeast infections in their white plaques or larynx. Swelling and inflammation are often noticed in these areas if there is no infection.
Some doctors agree that several medications in the market can greatly affect your voice. However, they have declared that some of these drugs do not result in the damage of your vocal cords permanently. Perhaps there are asthma inhalers like Advair that can cause inflammation or irritations of your vocal cords, but once you have done something to treat it, your voice will recover completely, and be back to normal. Therefore, it is not common for medications to result in permanent damage to your vocal cords.
7) Unhealthy Diet
Diet – Some researchers have proven that no correlation exists between milk consumption and mucous production unless she/he has an allergy reaction to lactose. When you’re suffering from reflux, then you should avoid eating acidic foods like citrus, caffeine, spices, tomatoes, and taking your meals late at night. Moreover, you should avoid eating foods that cause you to have an allergy.
8) Incorrect Singing Techniques
Let’s presume that you’re born with a great talent. However, poor technique can destroy it eventually. Thus, you should know the right way of using your valued instrument efficiently and safely since you’re a famed vocal athlete. Belting and screaming are the most vulnerable singing techniques that will damage your vocal chord easily if you don’t handle them correctly.
Whether prescribed or illicit, the hormonal pill can do something to destroy the thickness of your vocal cords. Taking asthma puffers, antiseptics and antihistamines can dry up your vocal cords. There are also some acne medications and anti-depressants that can affect the surface of your vocal cords.
You should also refrain from taking drugs that cause numbness to your throat and thin your blood as well as aspirin. When you indulge in smoking pot, it’s worse than smoking cigarettes for your vocal cords.
This can dry up your mouth, and makes you hallucinate that you can sing well then what you can, when in fact, you may just be yelling. Alcohol will lead to dehydration in your throat and will result in excessive mucous that will cover your vocal folds. Furthermore, you will experience the vocal chords numbness that will destroy your singing voice permanently if you are in the alcoholic situation in the long run.
11) Air-Conditioning & Heating Systems
Your vocal cords are dried up with air-conditioner in the extreme heat and extremely cold environments in the long term. You must pay very close attention to it if you have dust allergies. It may strain your vocal cords and make you feel very weak and unstable while singing.
Tobacco smoke can cause dryness and irritation to your throat. Thus, it will strain your vocal chord. Aside from drying your vocal cords, it can cause you a lot of dreadful throats and lung-related diseases. The second-hand smoke may have the same risk as to the smoker. You must drink lots of water constantly if you are singing in smoking environments such as night club or pubs.
Smoking is undoubtedly another type of habit that could significantly damage your singing voice. It can eventually cause lung diseases and throat diseases that could substantially limit your singing capability. It can also lead to the accumulation of phlegm in your respiratory tract. Hence, if singing is your bread and butter, you should refrain from smoking or quit it. You can improve your health and eventually preserve your singing voice along the way if you quit smoking. Moreover, the sooner you quit it, the better it would be for you.
13) Foods and Drinks that Cause Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Several foods and drinks are known to trigger acid reflux and heartburn. These foods and drinks include caffeinated drinks like sodas, alcohol, and coffee. These foods and drinks usually trigger the acid production of the body and can eventually cause a hoarse voice due to the onset of throat inflammation. This initial throat inflammation may lead to acid reflux which is characterized by an upward ejection of digestive acid towards the esophagus. This can cause heartburn. To avoid acid reflux, you should learn how to avoid foods and drinks that could trigger acid reflux.
14) Medications That Could Harm Your Voice
Some drugs and medications can significantly harm your singing voice. Some medicines are considered to be the primary factors that could damage your voice. Hence, if you don’t necessarily need medications like anesthetics and antihistamines, you should refrain from taking them. Moreover, you should consult your physicians before taking these types of medications.
15) Fatty Foods and Snacks
Some foods and snacks could gradually damage your singing voice, and you should be aware of these foods and snacks. You should carefully watch out your diet for you may inadvertently eat these foods and snacks on a regular basis. Some of these foods and snacks are enticingly delicious such as those of fatty foods and snacks. If you usually engage in eating these foods, you may end up with an unhealthy body and hoarse voice. High-fat foods, for example, can damage your singing voice. As mentioned above, frequent eating of these foods can cause over-production of acid in the stomach. The stomach then secretes more acid in an attempt to metabolize these fatty foods. To avoid the overproduction of acids, it would be wise to avoid these fatty foods days before your singing engagement to prevent the onset of the overproduction of stomach acid.
16) Clearing Your Throat Frequently
As a singer, if you have phlegm, the most natural thing to do is to clear it with an “ahem” sound. This may be an effective way to disgorge phlegm from your respiratory tract, but if you often do it, you may end up damaging your throat. Moreover, you may never notice it, but this method is, in reality, violent to your throat and may damage it. Eventually, your vocal cords may swell inadvertently, and you may experience vocal fatigue. There are many alternative ways to loosen up the phlegm and to clear your throat. You can, for example, drink water or warm tea. One proven way to clear your throat is by drinking warm tea with droplets of lemon.
17) Staying Late at Night
One surefire way to damage your singing voice, aside from drinking and eating harmful foods is that of staying late at night and to be regularly lacking in sleep. If you frequently lack sleep, you may eventually damage your body. Soon enough, frequently staying late at night and lacking in sleep may take its toll on your health and may eventually lead to respiratory diseases and throat diseases. To maintain and enhance your health, you should refrain from staying late at night and should get ample sleep every day.
In conclusion, you have to consult your voice coach or teacher if the problems listed above unsolved. Anyway, a task to singing voice care is the most fundamental task for you as a singer to keep sparking in the singing arena.