Your vocal cords are your biggest asset if you are a singer. You need to look after them and safeguard them against all the things that lead them away from optimum health. Your quality of singing directly reflects the condition of your vocal cords and you can notice a gradual decline if you do not take care of them.
There are many things that are known for disturbing your vocal cords. A few of them are highlighted for you so that you can distance yourself from them and improve your vocal health.
#1. Smoking and alcohol
Many singers habitually indulge in these vices for various reasons whether it is to socialise for building an expansive network of contacts or simply to dull the stress and sorrows of your everyday life.
Smoking alone or in combination with alcohol harbours an increased risk for the development of cancer of the throat.
It is okay to limit these activities to a moderate amount that is free from ill effects but to do it daily to the point that you feel addicted to them is likely to deteriorate your health in more ways than one. A singer must stay away from smoking to avoid vocal cord problems.
#2. Poor technique while singing
Self-taught singers account for only a fraction of the fraternity because it is hard to learn the correct technique by just listening to other singers. You may watch some singers pull off a high note with ease but it took them hours of practice and the right technique to nail it.
This is exactly why most people choose to learn how to sing because the bad technique can pass a death sentence for your career. Once you have damaged vocal cords, you cannot come back from the permanent condition you will end up with.
#3. Too much hawking
Hawking (or hocking) is the clearing of the throat. You would be fascinated by the knowledge that when you clear your throat, your vocal cords are violently slapping against each other. This leads to swollen cords and a strained voice along with vocal fatigue.
To circumvent this embarrassment to your throat, you could try suppressing the urge to clear your throat too often and substitute it with healthier alternatives like sipping water or tea. A few drops of lemon in your tea can work like magic.
The addiction to caffeine is all too real and very hard to get rid of. A cup of coffee a day soon turns to two and then three and soon you are consuming it in unacceptable quantities.
Caffeine is a known diuretic which means it causes you to urinate more and you lose plenty of bodily water this way. Dehydration occurs as a result and your vocal cords are not immune to it.
They become irritated and dry, rubbing raw against each other in the absence of proper hydration. So you might want to replace your usual coffee breaks with tea or even water.
#5. Dietary habits
It may be surprising, but even the food you consume can have an ill effect on your vocalcords. Foods like dairy, spicy and fried foods or any food that has a high fat content can diminish your vocal cord health if consumed long term. The overall condition of your vocal cords would be affected if your eating habits are not regulated. To avoid vocal problems, avoid these food products.
#6. Chronic heartburn or acid reflux
Another reason to get your dietary habits right is that some foods are more likely to cause acid reflux. And if this acid comes in contact with your vocal cords, the results can be hazardous.
So seeking early intervention when your complaints of acid reflux do not spontaneously resolve would prove better for your singing career.
#7. Singing/speaking too loudly
This should be a no-brainer. Singing outside of your vocal range or the range that you are comfortable with (tessitura) will cost you.
You may be trying to channel all those emotions and rage on stage and may wander outside of your tessitura thinking the audience will be impressed. You are endangering your vocal cords by subjecting them to the adverse effects of that.
And so, discover what your tessitura is and stick to that in order to curb these consequences.
As we conclude this list, it would be prudent to quickly circle back to the importance of professional guidance that can take you through the process and teach you the right technique.
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