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Do you lose your voice easily?

Often suffer from vocal strain?

And often find your voice sounding scratchy and weak?

Sound better now by avoiding these habits!

Yo! Since I’ve shared quite a lot of vocal tips on singing and vocal techniques that can help you improve your voice, this time I thought I’d share 3 habits to an unhealthy voice. If you’ve been practicing any of these habits, it’s time to put an end to it because if you’ve been doing any these enough, it could cause some vocal damage and the quality of your voice to¬†deteriorate over time. *gasp*

So avoid these habits at all costs! ūüôā

1. Throat Clearing

This is a common habit – a lot of people practice this almost every day, without giving it much thought. This throat-clearing business however, is not good for your voice. It causes a lot of unnecessary tension and pressure on your vocal cords and most of the time, many do it out of habit, rather than because they really need to. The next time you¬†feel that tickling sensation in your throat, try to resist the urge to clear your throat. Instead, swallow or drink some water. Most of the time it’s not phlegm that’s caught in our vocal cords. Most of the time it’s just the feeling that we need to clear the throat, and once we get that started, it drags us into a vicious cycle¬†of keep having to clear our throats, over and over again. So if you’re having phlegm in your throat the next time, it might be better to cough it out VERY gently (not to the extent where you feel like you’re coughing out your lungs or blood), or let it take its time to get out or dissolve on its own.

2. Whisper

If you find yourself whispering pretty often – STOP! Whispering also causes unnecessary tension on the vocal cords. If you find yourself constantly in an environment (at work or even at school) where you always have to whisper just to communicate with others – it’s bad for your voice, especially if you do it often enough. Just imagine, putting all these unnecessary tension on your vocal cords, on your little muscles in your voice box every – the constant tension can eventually lead to inflammation of the vocal cords and even vocal damage as a result of the formation of vocal nodules from too much inflammation. We don’t want that!

So instead of whispering the next time, try speaking quietly (or softer) instead. And there is a difference to whispering and speaking quietly! When we whisper, there’s a lot of air exhaled as we speak, and a lot of tension on our vocal cords when we whisper. However, when we speak quietly, the vocal cords are phonating as we’d normally do when we speak, with less pressure and tension. So, differentiate the two for yourself – determine if you are whispering, or if you’re speaking softly the next time, and always chose to speak softly rather than whisper. This is important especially at times when you are ill. If you’re already unwell, your having a sore throat, or you’ve been having a cold/flu and your vocal cords are already inflamed, or you’re losing your voice – the worst thing you can do, is to whisper. If you see an ENT (Ear, nose & throat) specialist, he/she would tell you the same.

The best thing to do when you are losing your voice or when your vocal cords are down (inflamed), is to KEEP QUIET ENTIRELY. Get yourself a writing board or a writing pad and communicate with others by writing on it instead of speaking. It sounds silly, but at times like that, if you want a speedy recovery,  you need to do whatever it takes to shut your voice down and just allow it to rest completely РNO SPEAKING OR SINGING, and definitely no whispering. Just by muting yourself completely for a few days,  your voice would be able to recover more swiftly than you can imagine.

3. Vocal Abuse

There are many ways that vocal abuse can happen.

Bad Technique

Most of the time, vocal abuse is caused by bad vocal technique practiced over a period of time. When people think about vocal techniques, most would assume it¬†concerns only the techniques that we’re using in singing. However, the vocal techniques that we use as we speak is equally important, if not even more. This is because we spend more time speaking then singing through out the day, and if we’re practising bad vocal technique when we’re speaking, the effects on the voice could be tremendously negative.

Take whispering for example – someone who whispers often throughout the day would find his/her voice deteriorating and tiring out much faster throughout the day as compared to another who speaks with good vocal projection and good engagement of his/her vocal mask.

Of course the question is, how do we know if we’re practicing bad vocal technique? It’s simple.

If you find yourself¬†experiencing vocal fatigue (your throat feels dry no matter how much water you’ve been drinking or strained and hoarse) even though you’ve only been speaking for a couple of hours, they are¬†signs that you’re practising bad vocal technique. When we use good vocal technique, the voice is able to sustain for hours without fatique, strain or loss of tone quality.

Diet

This one’s a little tricky because every individual is different.

For some of us, taking a lot of spicey food could be the trigger for a lot of phelgm in our throats. For others, it could be dairy products and more. Only you would know exactly what sort of consumables can trigger such a reaction in you – excessive amounts of mucous/phelgm to be produced in your nasal cavity or your vocal tract. If there are foods and/or drinks that causes such reaction for you (and for most of us, it could be alcohol), avoid overconsuming any of such foods and/or drinks, especially when you’ve got a presentation or vocal performance coming up. You want to make sure that your voice is in its top form and its performance and/or delivery is not disrupted by the production of excessive mucous/phelgm.

Lack Of Sleep

If you don’t sleep enough, you’re not doing your voice any favours. Sleep is the best way for the body to rest replenish and recuperate. And this is true for the voice too. It does the same for our vocal cords. When we sleep, we allow the body to do whatever it needs to do help remoisture the vocal cords again, the vocal cords to take a break and etc. That explains why the moment¬†we first wake up, is usually the time when we feel like both our nasal and vocal tracts¬†have most mucous – hence the urge to clear our throats and such.

Sleeping allows the body to¬†recondition the voice back to it’s healthy¬†(and moist) form, so that we can produce good vocal phonation again the very next day. To put it simply, getting enough sleep is a great way to keep your voice healthy. How much sleep is enough? It varies from individual to another, but generally 7 – 8 hours of sleep is good, but should you not be able to get those full 7 or 8 hours at all, it’s best to steal some sleep whenever you can. It’s better than not sleeping at all, for sure!

If you know you’ve got a presentation or singing performance coming up, make sure you get good sleep not just the night before, but nights before if possible ūüôā

Keep these 3 habits in mind the next time you use your voice Рrun away from them as far as possible!

If you want your voice to perform at its top form, at its 100% best, you’ve gotta keep it healthy.

There’s no better person to do this than you.

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3 Habits To An Unhealty Voice (Vlog)- Sound better now by avoiding these habits!