Vocal ranges differ, but one thing remains the same among all singers—the general techniques they employ to maintain their vocal health. Even the most iconic singers can lose the strength of their voice over time, and this is the last thing every singer would want.
If you’re one with a natural gift for singing or with a good-enough voice that can be trained in a school of performing arts, you know that both singing and having healthy vocals go hand in hand. Every performance would depend on the health of their vocals, so taking good care of it remains their crucial task.
How You Can Damage Your Voice Box
There are so many ways you can damage your vocal cords or voice box, and most of the time, unknowingly, so make sure that you know what can cause damage. Just like any other overused part of the body, you can damage your vocals when you overuse them.
Music lovers may say they just keep on singing every day, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s actually danger in oversinging. Think of your vocal cords like your feet—when you run non-stop, your feet will start aching, and over time, you may end up seriously injuring your feet and legs.
Your vocal cords may be damaged the same when you oversing, especially when you use the wrong techniques. If you continue doing so, you might experience swelling in your vocal cords in the forms of polyps or nodules in your voice box, and worse, bleeding. When you neglect these symptoms, you’re not only risking your singing voice but the speaking voice as well.
Just what singing techniques can damage your voice box? They could be belting or screaming, both of which can make your vocal cords more vulnerable. When you yell, you’re straining your vocal folds unnecessarily. It’s easy to damage your vocal cords too when you force yourself to speak or sing loudly even when you have the flu, cold, or laryngitis.
Oversinging and persisting on habits that strain your vocal folds may result in laryngeal or vocal fold paresis, which is losing nerves in the vocal cord muscles either partially or fully. This condition could affect your ability to speak, sing, and even breathe or swallow.
Vocal fatigue can happen, too, characterized by dry sensation in the mouth and pained throat when singing or talking. In time, you may experience hoarseness with breathy or raspy sounds. You may lose your normal vocal range or find it difficult to sing loudly. When singing or speaking, you may experience discomfort, pain, or tension in the throat or jaw.
Speaking either too loud or too low can damage your voice too. Sopranos that naturally talk with lower pitch may be damaging their vocal cords since lower pitches actually need more energy and muscles. It’s even recommended that singers talk in a way that sounds the same way as they sing.
Other ways you’re damaging your voice box are excessive coughing, smoking, uncontrolled throat clearing, untreated chronic acid reflux, alcohol, drugs, voice-harming medications, staying late at night, eating fatty foods, and even extreme air-conditioner temperatures.
Vocal Damage Can Be Reversible
The good thing is that you can always reverse the harm by avoiding the damaging habits above. Employ these techniques too:
Sleep and take vocal naps
Regular good sleep can do so many wonders to your body, even to your vocal cords. But aside from literally taking rest, give your vocal cords a nap too, especially after a performance or yelling at games or concerts.
Keep yourself hydrated
Loving your vocal cords means lubricating it too. Make sure to drink water from six to eight glasses daily. You can also opt for herbal tea or fruits that are high in water.
Warm-up before singing
Your voice box can be injured too, so take the time warming up depending on your experience levels or vocal ranges, preferably from ten to twenty minutes.
Use natural throat products
What makes your throat feel good can help your voice too, except those with menthol ingredients since menthol can dry the throat. Natural throat products include throat spray, tea, lozenges, and even licorice, and marshmallow. Opt-out of sugar content, just those with honey and glycerin.
Sing the right way
There are various singing strategies you can well master through voice lessons. As much as possible, avoid singing from the throat but from the core. It takes time and a vocal coach to train your body to cooperate with your voice.
When your vocal cords hurt, stop singing altogether. Watch out for overusing your voice box and keep it healthy in every way, then your voice will remain as good as ever despite your age.