Key steps for keeping your voice healthy

April 18, 2012

World Voice Day
Key steps for keeping your voice healthy
Vocal health is critical to our communication-oriented society, but the voice does not receive public recognition and appreciation it deserves. In order to educate patients and communities about the ways to protect their precious voice and to refamiliarise ourselves with the latest advances in voice care.
World Voice Day is observed on April 16 every year. The theme of the day — Make your voice count — encourages men and women, young and old, to assess their vocal health and take action to improve or maintain good voice habits. Proper care and use of our voice improves the likelihood of having a healthy voice for our entire lifetime.
There are many different reasons why our voice may sound hoarse or abnormal from time to time. There are steps we can take to prevent many voice problems. The following steps are helpful for anyone who wants to keep their voice healthy, but are particularly important for people who have an occupation, such as teaching, singing that are heavily depend on voice.
Drink plenty of water: Moisture is good for voice and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated.
Try not to scream or yell: These are abusive practices for our voice, and put great strain on the lining of our vocal cords.
Warm up voice before heavy use: Warm up the speaking voice before heavy use, such as teaching a class, preaching, singing or giving a speech. Warm-ups can be simple, such as gently gliding from low to high tones on different vowel sounds, doing lip trills (like the motorboat sound that kids make), or tongue trills.
Don’t smoke: In addition to being a potent risk factor for laryngeal (voice box) cancer, smoking also causes voice very husky, hoarse, and weak.
Use good breath support: Breath flow is the power for voice. Take time to fill lungs before starting to talk and don’t wait until you are almost out of air before taking another breath to power your voice.
Use a microphone: When giving a speech or presentation, consider using a microphone to lessen the strain on your voice.
Listen to your voice: When your voice is complaining to you, listen to it. Know that you need to modify and decrease your voice use if you become hoarse in order to allow your vocal cords to recover. If your voice is hoarse frequently or for an extended period of time, you should be evaluated by an Otolaryngologist (ENT specialist).

(Article originally published on The Daily Star)
The write up is compiled by Prof Dr M Alamgir Chowdhury, Head, Department of ENT – Head & Neck Surgery, Anwer Khan Modern Medical College Hospital, Dhaka.

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