I recently had my first live recording and it was a blast. As you can imagine there were some hiccups right before the event and one of those was the fact that I lost my voice five days before the recording. We had been preparing for this day for six months, three of those months in active rehearsal and I couldn’t even sing during the final rehearsal. This was due to the fact that the week before I had multiple rehearsals and three major ministry engagements back to back- we didn’t plan it this way but this is what happened. With only days before one of the biggest moments in my singing career I knew I had to act fast.
I am a proud nerd and I immediately took to researching ways to heal my vocal cords.
WHAT ARE VOCAL CORDS AND WHY DO WE GET HOARSE?
I was shocked to understand that our vocal cords are actually small membranes surrounded by muscle that need to be hydrated (Say Whaaaaat?). This realization has caused me to change my lifestyle all together. Vocal cords need to come together solidly to create a clear sound. Hoarseness takes place when these membranes swell. Infection, Shouting, Overuse (singing alot) and even whispering may cause swelling. So I quickly understood that I had to reduce the swelling of my cords. Here are ten ways to quickly treat hoarseness:
1. VOCAL & BODY REST
Nothing like some good old fashion vocal rest to help restore the vocal cords. I drove my family crazy the week of my recording because I resorted to minimal talking, writing notes, and miming what I needed them to do! It’s just as important for the body to rest. In ministry we use more than our voice to spread the message of the music…we use our whole body. So get proper rest.
2. DRINK WATER
Our vocal cords need to be properly hydrated so it recommended that singers definitely take in the eight glasses of water a day. Before putting our cords under the stress of singing, make sure the water is room temperature or warm. I personally love cold water, but consuming it before singing makes the body work harder to warm it up and actually hydrate the vocal cords.
3. VITAMIN C
Vitamin C is great for boosting the immune system. Emergen-C was my friend during this week. It’s available to put into liquids and tablet form. I personally prefer the tablets because I just don’t like the tang of it in my water, but both work great.
Ginger is another natural way to promote vocal health. It is a natural way to soothe the mucus membranes and reduce inflammation. There are a few ways to consume Ginger so that it is helpful for your voice: Ginger Candy & Ginger Crystals work like a dream! There is a company by the name of Prince of Peace (don’t you just love that, hehehe) that makes Ginger Candy and Ginger Crystals from 100% Ginger. I purchased both for less than $20 at the suggestion of my producer who says that a lot of pastors swear by it. I will warn you that the candy has somewhat of a burning sensation on the throat. It caught me by surprise the first time I ate one because I wasn’t prepared for it, but it isn’t painful and the warm soothing sensation is well worth it.
The Ginger Crystals are flavored with honey and lemon, so they don’t taste bad. I use those is caffeine-free tea or warm water. Due to their health benefits to the vocal cords, I’ve been eating a piece of candy everyday and using the crystals before and after I sing.
Honey is extremely effective in dealing with dry throat or hoarseness. Its thick coating helps to soothe the throat, reduces inflammation, and helps restore moisture to the vocal cords. Some suggestions are to:
So, I was blown away when I was told to drink Apple Cider Vinegar. Ummm…I just didn’t understand how this could help me, but I stand corrected, it worked like a charm. Apple Cider Vinegar contains Vitamin C and its properties help fight infection to treat Laryngitis. It helps reduce inflammation and soothes the pain of a hoarse voice. There are a couple of ways to use it:
7. SALT WATER
Warm salt water helps remove mucus from the respiratory tract and reduces irritation in the throat. Simply add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle with it 2-3 times a day. I have high blood pressure (I work on my stress levels daily and I’m believing God for my healing) so this is not something I chose to do as salt will elevate blood pressure.
8. VOCAL SPRAYS
There are a few vocal sprays on the market that contain helpful herbs to help soothe the throat. I personally like Clear Voice Vocal Spray. It’s inexpensive and small enough for me to keep it in my purse at all times. I use it before and after I sing. There are a few flavors but I don’t like being disappointed to so I just stick with the honey-lemon flavor. It’s pretty mild in taste with a hint of licorice.
Lemon helps relieve a hoarse voice because of it helps to reduce inflammation. It also contains Vitamin C so that helps combat any infection and boosts the immune system and stops the spread of infection. Try not to overdose on lemons though because it’s citrus nature dry you out if you use too much. Some people like to suck on lemons…I don’t for my own vain reason that I don’t like how it dries my lips (Hunty…my lipgloss needs to be popping at all times, lol). Some ways to use lemon:
Garlic is another item you may have in your kitchen that will help treat your hoarseness. For my own personal, “cute factor,” reasons I don’t do this. I just don’t like the way it makes the breath smell, lol. If you want to utilize garlic you can suck on a half a clove of garlic or add a few drops of garlic to a small glass of warm water and gargle with it.
I will tell you that I use most of these remedies but during the recording week I relied heavily on numbers 1-6. My voice was pretty much restored in about three days. The fourth day I went to my vocal coach in the morning and went back to vocal rest until sound check the next day.
Have you used any of these methods? What work best for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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l am a little nerdy, a little quirky, a little glam, with a whole lot of personality! A wife with four children and a furry puppy, there is never a dull moment.