As a singer, your vocal cords are an instrument for your performance. However, they require more attention than standard instruments because they are an integral part of your body.
We go through several bodily changes as humans, and our vocal cords are no exception. And as is the case with any organ, there are growing pains involved.
Looking after your body and caring for your vocal cords is one in the same thing. The only difference is that the latter is your moneymaker!
Therefore, a healthy body maintains a healthy voice.
When Should You Be Worried About Your Vocal Cords?
There are some telltale signs of compromised vocal cords:
- A sensation of hoarseness
- Feeling an impending respiratory infection
- Sensing creakiness in your voice after singing
A little bit of rest for your cords may solve these issues. However, if this croak persists for over two to three weeks, only getting worse, it is better to see your doctor.
In case of significant concern, you will be referred to an ENT doctor or otolaryngologist by your primary physician, one who is trained to treat and diagnose larynx problems.
Luckily, even if you have a hoarse voice for an extended period, there is no need to worry as a vocal cord injury is quite rare in this case, and the treatment is effective.
However, a healthy approach to your vocal cords and lifestyle would align your voice with your overall health. Hence, keeping your vocals in tune for singing training.
Voice Strain Indicators
There are quite a few indicators relating to the strain in your voice. And if you are experiencing any of these discomforts, it is better to contact your physician:
- Sore throat when you wake up in the morning that dies down once you warm up your voice
- During swallowing or speaking, a pain in your throat
- A tired and husky voice in the evenings
- Quick changes in the pitch of your voice during talking or singing
- Losing control of your voice at times
- Increased mucus in your throat causing your voice to break
- Feeling vocal fatigue after a single voice training session
Recovering Your Vocals
The best way to recover your vocal cords is by resting for a few hours or a day. Doing this is quite essential for voice recovery, and you will observe the changes immediately.
Keep in mind that jumping back into singing may further hurt your cords – give it time! Rest for a minimum of 24 hours, or you might lead yourself towards a vocal cord injury.
If you are experiencing a chronic strain in your voice, that indicates you are using an incorrect technique. Therefore, it is better to re-educate yourself on that.
Even though many recommend taking medications to decrease the throat pain just enough to continue talking or singing, do not ever do that.
Temporary relief will lead to long-term complications. Your throat needs to have complete sensory feedback at all times, and neglecting adequate rest will ultimately result in a vocal cord injury.
Finally, do not whisper, ever! Even though it seems such a small thing, it strains your voice in ways that you cannot imagine.
10 Tips On Taking Care Of Your Voice
Improving your singing voice first and foremost starts with learning how to take care of it.
Therefore, here are ten voice-caring tips for you to follow so you can achieve an effective regime for your singing training or for training your voice:
1. Listen To Yourself
This tip is not as self-centered as it is literal! Once you listen to yourself speak, you can begin searching your voice for signs of hoarseness.
A roughness or croak in your voice can be an indicator of allergies, or it can also indicate the presence of a laryngeal tumor.
If the croak persists over a week (especially if you smoke), and if you have no symptoms of the common cold other than this, it is best to visit your general physician, who would recommend you to a voice specialist.
Furthermore, you should keep track of your voice and monitor it closely. If you sense a roughness or your throat feels itchy because of overuse, it is better to rest your vocal cords as much as you can.
And most importantly, drink water! It will help lubricate your vocal cords.
2. Quit Smoking Altogether
Chemical, nicotine, and tobacco inhalation can adversely affect your throat. Around 60% of laryngeal cancer cases start with the vocal cords whereas, 30% begin in the region just above them.
Smoking can lead to swelling and inflammation in your throat, ultimately leading to lung, throat, nose, or mouth cancer.
Therefore, if you chew tobacco or smoke, it is better to quit if you want a shot at improving your singing voice.
3. Lower The Volume
Games or sports matches can rile us up so much that we don’t even realize that we’re shouting or cheering. Efforts at improving your singing voice will require you to be more mindful of this.
Avoid talking loudly over the phone, cheering loudly in excitement, or screaming. All of these put an excessive strain over your vocal cords, which may also damage them, causing vocal cord injury.
However, if you have to yell and cannot stop yourself from shouting over that dirty foul or cheering for that goal, keep it short. Raise your voice for a little bit, and then tone it down immediately.
4. Warming Up
Warming up before physical activity is crucial, and the same holds for voice training and singing training. Do some shoulder and neck stretches before starting.
Shift from high to low tones via different vowel sounds, and you can also hum to warm up your vocal cords.
5. Do Not Dehydrate Yourself
You can drink caffeine and alcohol, but keep them in moderation. Both alcohol and caffeine have dehydrating properties that ultimately strain your vocal cords.
Drink a glass of water for each cup of coffee or glass of alcohol you consume to avoid dehydration.
6. Never Force It
If your voice is scratchy due to the flu, cold, or laryngitis, it is better to take a step back and relax. During this time, avoid speaking too much.
Furthermore, avoid singing and putting a strain on your voice during this time until you are sure that you have recovered.
7. Reflux Relief
Acid reflux can essentially damage your vocal cords. There are many signs of acid reflux, including:
- Recurrent heartburn
- Frequent hoarseness in voice
- Presence of a lump in the back of your throat
- A lousy morning aftertaste in the mouth
8. Take A Rest
If you have been vocal training for a while, try to rest your voice for some time. Resting your voice will help your vocal cords relax and avoid strain.
9. Never Clear Your Throat
We tend to clear our throat a lot during singing or even talking in general. Avoid that as much as you can, especially harsh coughing.
To address the irritation, you can try drinking warm water or take a cough drop.
10. Hydrate! Hydrate! And Hydrate!
The best way to keep your vocal cords healthy and lubricated is by drinking a lot of water. Water clears your vocal cords and prevents a vocal cord injury.
How To Train Your Voice To Sing For An Audition
Singing at an audition can be quite a nail-biting experience for you, putting extra strain and stress on your vocal cords.
However, there are multiple things that you can do to prepare your voice before auditioning or entering a performance.
And these activities are good for your overall well-being. These include focusing on your mental health and taking care of your diet.
Diet plays a critical role in improving your singing voice for a performance or audition. Maintaining a Vitamin C-rich diet days before an audition or a performance would help boost your immune system and make you feel energetic.
Hydration is also a key player in training your voice for a performance or an audition. It helps supply moisture to your vocal cords, drastically lowering the chances of a vocal cord injury.
A positive attitude goes a long way, and positive affirmations before your audition will ultimately boost your self-confidence.
They will help you feel relaxed, maintain your breathing, and keep your voice stress-free.
Improve Your Voice And Maintain Vocal Health With An Expert
Voice training and singing training require constant practice; however, you also need to take care of your voice when singing. There are multiple ways to help you relax your voice and training your voice to sing better.
Superprof provides you with hundreds of qualified tutors to help with your voice training. With years of experience, the vocal coaches at Superprof will train you on how to improve your singing voice.