Save Your Voice

If you work in customer service, provide IT support, work in retail, teach, are a public speaker, act, sing or do anything else that relies on your voice, listen up because you and your voice may be at risk.  In fact, it is estimated that 17.9 million adults in the U.S. report problems with their voice at some point in their careers.   These disorders are commonly referred to as Vocal Strain which can be avoided by simple strategies to protect your voice.

What is vocal strain?

Vocal strain, also known as Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD), usually comes about when the muscles around your vocal cords are overused or misused.   MTD can be brought about by things like illness, allergies and reflux, but it can also come about from increased use of your voice.  

What are the signs of vocal trouble?

Vocal strain can show up in a number of ways and can come on suddenly, but the most common symptoms include any one or more of the following:

  • Your voice becomes hoarse or raspy
  • Your throat feels fatigued when you talk
  • Your voice suddenly is deeper
  • Weak or “airy” voice
  • Speaking feels difficult
  • Your throat feels strained, especially when you are speaking or projecting.
  • You clear your throat often

What can you do?

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to protect your voice.

  1. Rest your voice when you can
  2. Keep yourself well hydrated (6 – 8 glasses per day is ideal)
  3. Limit things like alcohol and caffeine which tend to be dehydrating
  4. Set up a small humidifier at work and at home, especially in dry winter months
  5. Avoid using your voice at the extremes (shouting, yelling or whispering)
  6. Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder when talking
  7. Maintain good posture so that your diaphragm can properly support your breathing
  8. Avoid smoking
  9. Get enough rest
  10. Exercise regularly to improve circulation and muscle tone

If symptoms persist, please go see your health care provider to rule out underlying medical conditions that may be affecting you.




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