The overall health of your body is always the primary consideration for good vocal health. To give your voice the best opportunity to function at its maximum level of efficiency, your body must always be functioning at its maximum level of efficiency.
As a singer, you should maintain a daily program that not only conditions your voice, but also helps to keep your body fit, rested, and well nourished, for both your health and physical appearance. You must also use good posture, avoid bad vocal habits, and be aware of any other factors that may affect the well-being of your voice.
According to a report on the role of hydration in vocal fold physiology, recent findings suggest "Systemic, superficial, and combined drying challenges increase aerodynamic and acoustic measures of voice production in speakers. Emerging theoretical and clinical evidence suggest that increasing both systemic and superficial hydration levels may benefit voice production." In summary therefore, according to this report, "Increased systemic and superficial vocal fold hydration as a component of vocal hygiene may improve overall health and efficiency of the vocal apparatus."
Your larynx, like any other organ of your body, is composed of living tissue, which makes it susceptible to injury and abuse. Often, you can abuse your voice without even realizing you are doing so. Things you do can directly or indirectly affect the healthy functioning of your voice. They can be just as harmful as using poor singing technique.
Stimulants and depressants, whether or not prescribed by a physician, can disrupt your neuromuscular system, reducing the ability of your vocal cords to function as you would normally expect them to.
Smoking: Besides containing chemicals that can cause muscle and nerve problems, smoking dries out the mucous lining of your vocal cords. Without this natural lubrication, the edges of your cords can swell, making vibration very difficult and allowing air to escape unused. And it doesn't matter whether it's your smoke or someone else's.
Eating before singing: It is suggested that you don't eat before you sing. After a meal, your body tends to slow down, because the body's energies are directed toward diges-tion. This inhibits your mental alertness and the vocal coordination you require during a rehearsal or performance. Also, the excess mucous that secretes onto your vocal cords can interfere with the vibration process itself.
Shocking your cords: Excessive coughing, sneezing, forced throat-clearing, and starting your tone with a sudden burst of air can strain or even damage the delicate muscle tissue of your vocal cords.
Using excessive volume: When you can't hear yourself sing—or talk for that matter—there is a tendency to overcompensate by using more muscle to control your larynx, which in turn requires that you use more air to move your cords. A muscular "battle" soon begins to take place between your vocal muscles (in your larynx) and your outer muscles to resist the escalating air pressure. This leads to hoarseness and added tensions that cause the muscles in and around your larynx to become sore and painful.
When people ask me what the best ways to preserve the voice are, my answer is always nutrition nutrition nutrition and DON'T abuse your body! Excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, cigarettes and freezing cold drinks will do damage to your voice. So avoid damage to your vocal folds, by eliminating any of those excesses. Try to focus more on getting some good nutrition to boost your vocal health, and remember that good hydration--drinking lots of water, a minimum of 2 liters a day--is great for the vocal chords. And I've taken the liberty to share with you the highly effective nutritional antioxidant supplement I like to add to my water every day because it tastes delicious and ads a lovely flavor to my drinking water. It also has a lot of nutritional benefits, not only for the vocal folds, but also for your entire body. At a glance, preview details below, or click here!
To your health and prosperity,