How to Heal a Lost Voice
You wake up in the morning during a bout of illness or after loud party and you find that you can barely talk. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there, and it’s never pleasant. Losing your voice is an experience that makes life quite difficult, that is, until you find it again. Fortunately there are a few techniques that can heal damaged vocal cords. The following tips are easy to follow, and will have your voice back to normal in no time.
Stop the Damage
When we become hoarse, our first instinct is to start whispering. In order to whisper, however, the vocal folds are kept from vibrating and are held stiffly away from each other while air passes through them. This puts a strain on already fatigued laryngeal muscles and creates an inflammatory wind burning effect on the folds. It is best to speak less often, but support the voice with plenty of air so that muscles in the larynx aren’t being overexerted. This way, the voice can heal on its own.
Water is the one substance that lubricates the human voice for effective use. When the folds are lubricated adequately, their ability to perform without becoming inflamed or fatigued is increased greatly. Eight glasses is not nearly enough, especially for a damaged voice. About half a gallon per day is what is needed. It may seem excessive, but this one practice will greatly speed up recovery and prevent further damage.
Practicing certain vocal exercises is another excellent way to heal the voice, even for non-singers. When performed at a low volume, vocal exercises cause the folds to vibrate together very gently, effectively massaging away inflammation. Vocal coach Mark Baxter has an exercise that does this very well. He has students sing softly on an “e” vowel or hum throughout their comfortable singing range. This exercise reduces inflammation in just a few minutes. This is a great thing to do in the shower because steam also hydrates and soothes the folds.
The most important thing to remember is that the voice is the instrument of the human body. We all use it to communicate and make music. It is also the most sensitive instrument on the planet. Handle it with care, and it will rarely cause you problems. If it does, the tips mentioned above will put it back on track toward feeling and sounding like normal again.
Read more about how to heal a damaged voice.