Vocal Hygiene: What to Avoid:
- Drying agents: caffeine (soda, coffee, tea, chocolate, some energy drinks), anti-histamines, alcohol, very hot or very cold air, dairy products, menthol throat lozenges.
- Airborne irritants: smoke, painting, chemicals, cleaning sprays.
- Smoking and smokeless tobacco.
- Voice abuse: yelling, shouting, crying, loud laughing, loud or long talking, speaking when sick with laryngitis, excessive throat clearing, talking when exercising or when lifting weights, making “special effect” sounds (environmental noises, imitations), whispering (talk softly instead), talking in long sentences.
- Loud background noises (bars, restaurants, sporting events), to prevent straining voice above others.
- Increase water intake to 8-10 glasses per day. Drink continuously throughout the day especially when you have the urge to clear your throat or cough.
- Ricola drops without menthol to thin out secretions and moisturize your mouth.
- Cool or warm humidifier or vaporizer in the home.
- 8 hours of sleep per night to minimize fatigue effects on voice and strain of neck muscles.
- Mindful breathing through the nose, and use of diaphragm.
- Check medications, to make sure they have no undesirable effects on the throat.
- Pace yourself: 60/10 rule. After talking for 60 minutes, be absolutely quiet for 10 minutes. Have structured voice breaks and time yourself. Delete all unnecessary talking. Use short sentences. Focus your voice and look at your listener face to face. Be within toughing distance to your listener.
- Phone use: Upright posture (head/neck). Limit the number of phone calls and spread them throughout the day. Screen calls. Delegate to others if possible. Limit the time on the phone.
- Use low effort speech: 10% slower, softer and less.