Communication Matters

What is Vocal Hygiene

Alicia Verhovitz, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on February 22, 2024


What is Vocal Hygiene?

Vocal hygiene is a term used to describe habits and routines used to support a healthy and strong voice. Just as good oral hygiene can help protect your teeth as you age, vocal hygiene can help you preserve a strong, resonant voice.

Vocal Hygiene Tips

1. Drink More Water: Try a minimum of eight 8 oz glasses of water or other noncaffeinated non-acidic beverage per day, avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages. (NOTE: please speak with your medical provider to ensure consumption of a higher volume of water will not impact any medications you are currently taking.)

2. Be Aware of Throat Clearing: frequent throat clearing can result in a build-up of fluid in the vocal
fold tissue, which puts vocal folds at risk of bruising and irritation. Gargling with lukewarm water in the morning will loosen accumulated mucous in the throat.

3. Watch Your Volume: use a moderate, conversational level of loudness. Don’t whisper, never shout. Always be within reaching distance of the person you are speaking to and always face your listener.

4. Don’t Smoke: Smoking is the ultimate in-voice abuse and can cause cancer of the vocal cords as well as many other sites.

5. Avoid Irritating Environments: avoid places with tobacco smoke, auto exhaust, strong smells, or products to which you are allergic or sensitive. These irritants may impact your breathing, along with your oral mechanism, making them more susceptible to damage.

6. Avoid Triggering Foods: eating spicy food, dairy, alcohol, and highly acidic foods, particularly shortly before going to bed. Consumption of these foods can produce gastric reflux, which irritates the vocal tract.

7. Limit Your Amount of Talking: if your voice feels tired or strained, this is an important signal that you should give your voice a rest. Do not speak louder or with more effort to push your voice out despite the feeling of strain.

8. Take a Deep Breath: don’t talk faster or push words out with strain so that you can finish entire thoughts in one breath.

Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, Voice, talking, Speech therapy



see all