Damage to your voice can occur with incorrect use, over-use or fatigue. Illnesses such as colds and stress can weaken the vocal areas. A singer needs to be educated on vocal healthcare and sensible singing practices. Take necessary precautions or action to have any throat condition diagnosed promptly to avoid long-term damage.
A general rule is to keep your throat lubricated before, during and after singing with room temperature water or lukewarm fruit tea; this will help prevent dehydration of the throat. If you are currently on medications check the pharmaceutical guide in the manual for any possible effects on the voice. Contact your doctor or medication supplier for comprehensive information.
If your voice is raspy, breaks during singing/speaking or is hoarse, it is usually the result of fatigue or inflammation of the throat or muscles. When your vocal cords become swollen through incorrect or overuse, they will require more effort to close. Mucus is created in the throat, coating the vocal cords and affecting their ability to vibrate. Abuse of your voice can lead to node formation in the long term if left unheeded.
A node (nodule) is a callus (growth) that forms on the vocal cords, preventing them from functioning correctly. They may be surgically removed by an ear, nose and throat specialist, but can leave permanent weakening of this area. If you think you may have vocal nodes see your doctor and ask for a referral to an ear, throat and nose specialist.
Throat Soothing Tips
- Use remedies at home or during the rehearsal process, not when performing.
- Peppermints can help open the sinus passages temporarily.
- Gargling with salt water can temporarily rid a singer of post-nasal drip.
- A tablespoon of natural honey can comfort a scratchy throat.
Oral hygiene is very important for a singer's longevity and well-being; brush your teeth at least daily and when possible use a throat gargle or mouth rinse with a formula to reduce any bugs (bacteria) that could breed in your mouth.
Brush your tongue as well as your teeth to remove any film and unsightly material, such as coffee stains, which can be seen when you open your mouth. Brushing your tongue can also help reduce bad breath and bacteria.
It's possible to gag on toothpaste due to the high volume of foam generated when it's mixed with water. I recommend products such as Pearl Drops toothpaste or usually any whitening toothpaste that is less foamy. If you can't find a suitable toothpaste, try tooth powder.