Keep Your Voice in Top Shape

Much like personal hygiene, vocal hygiene helps ensure you stay in tip top shape. If you have ever stopped showering, you will know that lack of proper hygiene makes communication with others very difficult.

While an intense body odor will prevent people from ever getting close enough to hear you, a voice problem is a surefire way to ensure you will not be part of the conversation.

How Does Your Voice Work?

First thing’s first, how does your voice actually work?

Inside the larynx, or voice box, there are two vocal folds (cords). They are open during breathing and closed during swallowing and voice production.

When the vocal folds come together and air from the lungs is pushed through the folds, a vibration is created. This buzzing sound is then passed through your throat, nose and mouth where it is transformed into your voice.

Therefore, voice changes often reflect an issue with the structure and function of the vocal folds.

What Does a Voice Disorder Involve?

Voice hygiene health

A voice disorder is a problem involving abnormal pitch, loudness or quality.

  • Pitch is the degree of highness or lowness of a tone.
  • Loudness is the degree of volume (loud or soft) production.
  • Quality is the properties of speech (roughness, hoarseness or breathiness).

Commons causes of voice disorders include:

  • Voice misuse
  • Medications
  • Disease/illness
  • Trauma
  • Birth defects
  • Vocal fatigue

Symptoms include:

  • Hoarseness
  • Voice change
  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath

How Can You Prevent a Voice Disorder?

Now that you know how to identify a voice disorder, do you know how to prevent it from happening? Your Murrieta ear, nose and throat doctor is always more than happy to provide you some do’s and don’ts for proper voice hygiene.


  • Drink plenty of water (48 oz/day)
  • Speak slowly and pause naturally to reduce strain
  • Speak softly in a natural pitch
  • Limit vocal loudness
  • Breathe from your abdomen rather than your chest/shoulders
  • Balance extra vocal demands with voice rest
  • Reduce background noise, face the person you are speaking to and get closer to the listener
  • Learn to recognize the signs of vocal fatigue


  • Clear your throat or cough habitually
  • Yell, cheer or scream habitually
  • Smoke
  • Excessively drink alcohol or caffeine
  • Talk in noisy situations, e.g. concerts, football games, bars/restaurants
  • Talk in a prolonged, unnatural voice, e.g. whisper
  • Consume menthol, peppermint and cinnamon when experiencing a sore throat

For more tips and tricks on how to save your voice, contact your Murrieta ear, nose and throat doctor.