Vocal Damage - What To Do When You've Over Done

     As a singer teacher and vocal coach, I have had several inquiries recently about how to repair vocal
damage. It is every singer and public speaker’s nightmare to have a voice that just won’t deliver when they need it to – much like a marathon runner whose legs won’t move… so, what can be done?
First and foremost – rest your voice. And I mean complete, 100% no noise whatsoever, no talking, singing, grunting or moaning – nada, nothing! Whispering is actually MORE damaging to your voice than speaking softly so if you must interact with other people, text on your phone and show them the message or write notes on a piece of paper - anything to avoid using your voice. If possible, give it a minimum of 2 days of complete silence.

     While you are resting your voice, consume plenty of fluids. Room temperature water, broths, fruit juice, decaffeinated teas with lemon or honey… anything to get your hydration up as high as possible. You can also steam your voice by boiling water in a pot on the stove and leaning over it once it’s boiled with a towel over your head. Breathe the steam in slowly and deeply through your nose and mouth alternately. Warm showers, far infrared saunas and anything that will keep your neck warm and relaxed will help speed the healing process.

     Take large amounts of vitamin C – I’m talking 1000 milligrams every 2 hours large. Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory and it will help reduce the inflammation of your vocal chords. It is also considered “queen of all vitamins” and will help the absorption of any other supplements you take. Vitamins A, B6, D and E are also beneficial in reducing inflammation so taking these supplements will also be beneficial.

     Foods to eat more of while you are healing are those that (you guessed it) reduce inflammation. Try adding more of these foods to your diet: Ginger, Salmon, Green Tea, Pineapple, Raspberries, Cauliflower, Avocado, Spinach. Foods to avoid are any that cause inflammation such as dairy products, deep fried foods, white breads, and sugar. And of course, avoid alcohol and any kind of air pollutant like cigarette smoke as these two things do more damage to vocal chords that anything else.

     When you have given your voice adequate rest, you can begin gently warming up your voice. I will post some exercises on specific vocal warm-ups in next week’s blog.

     Enjoy your week!