Do you know how to take care of your voice and what to do if you lose your voice?
Many of us don’t give much thought to vocal health until we experience a problem. After coming down with a bad case of laryngitis, I decided to show you firsthand how I soothe my sick voice.
This video is full of valuable tips for singers about laryngitis and caring for your voice.
Click below to get your free info-guide from today’s video. It has a summary of all the key information and includes a free email series on taking care of your voice.
What is laryngitis?
Laryngitis is a generic name that refers to any kind of swelling in your larynx (voice box) which causes you to sound hoarse or lose your voice.
Laryngitis can be caused by
- something you’ve done (overuse or abuse of the voice)
- by irritation (exposure to smoke and associated coughing)
- or by an infection
Most cases of Laryngitis are caused by a cold virus. These kinds of viruses can be spread by
- Airborne droplets (coughs or sneezes)
- Saliva (kissing or shared drinks)
- Touching a contaminated surface and touching your face.
- headache, fever, body aches, loss of energy, sinus congestion
- Dry or sore throat
- Pain or discomfort when swallowing
- Coughing up mucus
- An unusual warm or cold feeling in the throat
- Hoarse or scratchy voice
- Restricted vocal range – usually loss of the high notes
- speech that feels effortful
What can you do?
What can you do if you develop a case of laryngitis? Here are some laryngitis tips for managing your sick voice.
The first step is self-care, since most cases of laryngitis are caused by a virus. Use the same kind of self-care that you would for any cold or flu
- Stay hydrated
- stay warm
- drink water
- get plenty of sleep
- rest your voice
If your laryngitis is accompanied by headaches and a sore throat you can try some over the counter pain medications, such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen
For nasal congestion, ask your pharmacist about sinus rinses (saline) and decongestants.
Gargling with saltwater or Betadine Sore Throat Gargle is also helpful.
What about natural remedies?
Many urban myths are passed around among singers about natural voice remedies rumoured to help the voice. Many laryngitis tips are passed around that have very little basis in real evidence.
There are many products on the market including herbal teas, lozenges, sprays, throat gargles that are marketed at soothing a tired or sick voice. Some are even said to provide extra lubrication for the voice.
We have to ensure the advice we are getting comes from a valid evidence-based source. The problem with not being able to see or touch the voice is that we can imagine that all sorts of things are helping when they are not.
Nothing you eat or drink can touch your vocal folds! It’s simply an issue of plumbing. Since your larynx and vocal folds are found inside the windpipe, not in your food, nothing we take into our mouths can soothe the vocal folds by direct contact.
When to seek medical help
If you feel like your laryngitis is not getting better, the first port of call is your family doctor or GP. See your doctor if your laryngitis persists beyond 2 weeks.
See your doctor immediately if you start coughing blood or something feels drastically wrong. In some circumstances, doctors may treat you with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or steroids.
Laryngitis that persists beyond 4 weeks is considered chronic and should be evaluated by an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist (ENT)
Is it dangerous to sing?
My most important laryngitis tip is this: Do not place heavy demand on your voice without first getting medical approval.
Gentle gliding from the bottom to top and top to bottom of your range using semi-occluded sounds. For example: humming, lip bubble (trill), tongue trill, or using an object such as a coffee cup or stirring straw.
Do only short bursts of gentle exercises – 5 to 10 minutes. As you have seen from my demonstration, steam inhalation is your friend!