As a singer, vocal health is extremely important. Taking care of your voice may seem like an obvious task, but if you’re not utilizing proper warm-up or vocal exercising techniques and/or are singing too often, your voice can get fatigued and hoarse.
Even worse, it can lead to more voice problems and long-term vocal damage that could affect your job as a singer. It can feel like the worst thing in the world when you lose your voice.
Singers rely on their voice for their livelihood, so it is difficult when faced with anything that can prevent you from singing. Getting your voice back as soon as possible should become your main focus, and determining the cause of how you lost it so that you don’t do it again.
There are many factors that can go into losing your voice. It can be as simple as having some acid reflux, or a mild sore throat that is causing you pain and now allowing you to sing. The vocal cords might have been strained, or maybe you have bronchitis or laryngitis.
There are some simple home remedies that you can utilize to help get your voice back, however, there are certainly some cases in which you need to seek professional help from a doctor.
Causes Of Voice Loss
The causes of losing your voice typically stem from the vocal cords being mashed together in a harsh, unproductive way and causing swelling, redness, and strain.
When the vocal folds vibrate there is a natural sound, but voice loss can happen if you are coughing a lot, overuse of your voice if you are using it consistently throughout the day without properly warming up or hydrating, or even doing a lot of throat clearing.
After looking at some of these causes of voice loss, you can be sure to work to prevent the damage to your voice box in the future.
Hoarseness / Sore Throat
A simple sore throat where maybe you’ve been using your voice a lot, and it becomes hoarse, is something that can easily be fixed right from home. One of the best fool-proof ways to help with a sore throat is by doing a warm saltwater gargle.
You don’t need a lot of it, a teaspoon of salt is enough in a small cup of warm water to do the trick. Make sure you are holding the warm water in the back of your throat as you gargle.
Singers don’t always like to do this because gargling warm salt water isn’t pleasant, but it has worked for years in helping people with red, sore or scratchy throats, soothing it and helping it feel better.
Besides gargling, you should also drink plenty of fluids. Being sure to hydrate should be a regular practice as a singer, and this shouldn’t change due to voice loss. You should drink water, herbal tea, tea with slippery elm (it’s great for soothing the throat), or any warm liquids.
It’s important to stay away from drinks that give you more mucus, like milk or cream. Lozenges or throat sprays are also a great alternative to keeping the vocal cords moistened if you want something over-the-counter.
Just be cautious with these as many of the numb the feeling in the vocal cords so when you use your voice, you may not be aware that you could potentially be making your voice worse – try to be on vocal rest when using these products.
A great home remedy for a sore throat that you can use is just taking a nice, hot shower because the steam from the shower helps to open up the nasal passages and soothes the swelling.
If you don’t want to take the shower, use a humidifier for some steam, or if you don’t have one, you can just breathe in over a pot of boiling water on the stove to create the same effect.
Infections / Laryngitis
Sometimes, you may get a true bacterial infection, virus, or laryngitis that causes you to lose your voice. If you have been working with the natural remedies above but your voice is still in pain, you feel heaviness in your chest or are still coughing, now is the time to go and visit a doctor.
You could have acute laryngitis, and though it is treatable, it is also an inflammation of the larynx and can last up to three weeks for the healing process.
Three weeks can seem like an eternity for a singer, so it is important to identify the cause of your voice loss and try to prevent it from happening again.
Voice Loss Prevention
There are multiple ways that you can prevent voice loss, and many have already been covered as a natural remedy to help heal the voice as well, such as hydration, humidifiers or steam, and/or lozenges. These methods can go a long way to helping keep your voice healthy.
Some other great ways to be sure to prevent your voice from being strained or going hoarse are making sure to take vocal rest when necessary. If you have used your voice a lot and can start to feel that it is fatigued – take a break from talking or singing at all.
Avoiding harmful things such as breathing in chemicals, smoking, and avoiding smoke are also very important to keep your voice in tip-top shape. Lastly, be aware of how often you are clearing your throat and/or coughing.
This can lead to problems since your cords will be pushed together so much it can cause inflammation. Things you don’t always think about like allergies or common colds can lead to throat problems because you are putting so much pressure on your throat.
Take care of your voice as much as possible. If you can and/or are curious, you should visit a doctor to receive a laryngoscopy – this can help tell you how your voice is being taken care of and if you should be careful to avoid certain things that can lead to voice loss.