Taking care of your voice is essential in order to have a successful voiceover career. You may not be aware of it, but certain things you do and don’t do can significantly impact how well your voice sounds. The consequence of not keeping these things in mind could leave you struggling to make ends meet. Here are the top 10 vocal health tips to keep your voice healthy and strong.
1. Drink lots of water
This is probably the most obvious one, but it can’t be stressed enough. Drinking water is the easiest and maybe most important thing you can do to take care of your voice. After you drink a glass of water, thin mucus is produced that helps your vocal cords to stay lubricated. Try drinking a large glass of water with lemon before you start off your day of recording. Keep a water bottle near you at all times so you can stay hydrated throughout your day of recording sessions.
2. Avoid smoking
Your voice is going to get pretty raspy over time if you smoke on a consistent basis. As a result, you’re going to be very limited in the type of voiceover recording jobs you get. Smoke irritates your vocal cords and your airways. Even being around secondhand smoke from time to time puts you at risk of doing some damage to your voice. The pitch of your voice is decreased over time due to the structural change of your vocal cords. Unfortunately, this change is usually permanent. Be sure to do your best to avoid smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke as much as possible.
3. Don’t drink too much alcohol
It’s okay to enjoy a drink once in a while, but you should be aware of the effect that it can have on your voice if you drink too much. Your hydration levels decrease whenever you drink alcohol. The decrease of hydration causes your larynx and vocal folds to dry out. Additionally, the membranes of your throat can become irritated. You might be surprised to know that this can be caused even by the alcohol that’s in your mouthwash. Besides drinking less, the best way you can prevent the alcohol from affecting your voice is to drink water with it. In addition, caffeine can also dry out your larynx. If you know you’re going to be recording something the next morning, it’s best to skip the coffee.
4. Avoid clearing your throat
You’ve probably seen it done often in TV shows and movies. Right whenever someone is about to give speech or say something important, they clear their throat first. It turns out that clearing your throat can actually irritate your vocal cords. Even worse, if you do it too much, it can eventually result in chronic inflammation. The better way to clear up your throat is to either take some sips of water, or gently cough.
5. Take breaks
Remember that your voice isn’t it a machine. It has its limits just like every other part of your body. The longer you’re recording things with your voice, the more tired it eventually starts to get. If you feel like your voice is starting to feel strained or tired at any point, it’s best to stop recording, and give it a chance to rest. During your break, avoid talking or whispering.
6. No yelling
This tip might be a tough one if you have kids running around in your house all the time. Sometimes all you can do is raise your voice to get their attention. Similarly, if you’re a passionate fan of sports, controlling yourself from yelling at the TV might get tough when your team is losing. Nonetheless, since your voice is your career, it’s important you know that your vocal cords can get damaged from yelling and screaming. The voice can repair eventually, but you’ll end up having to rest your voice, and miss out on voiceover projects while you’re waiting for your voice to heal. Try to avoid yelling as much as you can.
7. Relax your neck
A good way to prevent strain of your vocal muscles is to practice relaxing your neck. You can try some meditation or yoga to help release the tension in your body. You could also practice some neck stretches. One example is you could start with your chin on your chest, and then roll your head from side to side. Additionally, you might be surprised to know that even yawning can get your throat and neck muscles relaxed.
8. Try a throat spray
Using a throat spray can be helpful for preventing sore throats and keeping your voice feeling the best it can. The only type of throat spray you should avoid are ones with alcohol or any other type of irritant. Your best bet when it comes to throat sprays is using one with ingredients that have healing properties. A throat spray with olive leaf is an example of one you could try using.
9. Focus on healing when sick
It’s common for many people to want to keep working through sickness, but it’s a more difficult challenge if you’re a voice artist. When you’re feeling stuffy or your throat is sore, your voice can’t do the same tone changes as you can when you’re healthy. It’s best to focus on healing when you’re sick, so your voice can be healthy again as soon as possible. Focus on keeping yourself hydrated, eating immune-boosting foods, and minimizing your speaking.
10. Try vocal exercises
It can be helpful to start your morning off with vocal exercises to keep it strong for the day. One exercise you could try is lip trilling. It’s an exercise that involves making a sound while vibrating your lips. The exercise is designed to strengthen the vocal folds and improve breath support. Tongue twisters can be a helpful vocal exercise as well. It can build your speaking stamina, strengthen your voice control, and improve your enunciation.
Taking care of your voice is one of the most important components for having a successful voiceover career. All of these vocal health tips will help keep your voice in the best shape possible. Be sure to consistently practice these vocal health habits to see the most benefit from them.