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 assist 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.
Use a throat gargle such as Betadine (throat iodine) regularly each week, please confirm with your doctor you are able to use these types of products. A throat gargle will clear any congested throat areas. I find Listerine too strong and don’t recommend it; if you must use a supermarket variety and dilute it well.
Check with the manufacturer if you have any doubts or questions about the product’s drying effects on a singer’s voice.