How to Heal a Damaged Voice
Though experts say that more than half of communication is non-verbal, there is still little more frustrating than not being able to use your voice. There are many ways to damage your voice, including nights of partying, singing too much, and cheering too loudly and too much for the home team – not to mention the illnesses that can cause throat damage raising from strep throat to the common cold. Though it is frustrating, there are several things you can do to accelerate the speed of recovery and heal a damaged voice.
1. Rest Your Voice
The first, and probably most important, thing that you can do to begin healing a damaged voice is to stop using your voice. Resting the voice from one to two weeks is a very important part of healing your the damage. The best way to rest the voice is to simply not use it, but sometimes that isn’t entirely possible. If you must speak, whispering may actually do more damage than speaking normally. When your larynx is being taxed, it is tempting to whisper, but instead support the laryngeal muscles with air while speaking. A hot shower may also help to relax the larynx and speed healing of the damaged voice. Also, during this rest it is important that you avoid the harsh effects of cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate
Another important step involved in trying to heal a damaged voice is to make sure to keep the throat hydrated. Water is very important, and eight glasses per day is not necessarily enough. It is better to drink about half a gallon per day. This might seem like a lot, and it is, but it is very helpful when trying to heal. Lozenges can also, help, and if necessary you can also use hard candies and cough drops, but be careful – there can be harsh substances in some of these aids so be careful when choosing.
3. Hot Tea
An oldie but a goodie is hot tea. Choose a simple, herbal, non-caffeinated tea. Caffeine causes vocal cords to constrict, so avoid caffeine. There are several teas that are aimed specifically at soothing throats, so check your local grocery store or pharmacy for soothing teas. To heal your voice, adding honey may also help as it lubricates the throat. In fact, putting honey right on the back of the tongue also helps lubricate the voice. Avoid sugars and citruses as they are harsh on the throat. Try to drink the tea warm, but avoid extremely hot or cold as those temperatures will not be helpful in healing.
4. Exercise for Massage
Finally, though it may seem ironic, exercising the throat may help. Use a low volume warm-up vocal exercise. This low key exercise causes the folds to vibrate against each other, in effect massaging the inflammation. If inflammation is the cause for your damaged voice, this may work well. Singing in a hot shower may enhance the effect. If the exercise is too painful, revert to the first recommendation and continue to rest your voice. If the voice damage continues for too long, be sure to check with a health care provider.