Have you been enjoying your favorite tunes this summer? With fall coming soon, you may notice some changes to your voice as the weather cools down. Not to worry, as there are a few things you can do to keep your voice as healthy as possible.
When thinking about autumn and your voice, there’s two aspects to consider: allergies and cold and flu season. Near the end of August through November, pollen levels from ragweed reach their peak and can cause nasal congestion and postnasal drip, both of which can affect your breathing. Colder weather also makes you more prone to being indoors, making you more likely to be exposed to those with colds, flus, and upper respiratory illness. Such conditions can include inflammation of the vocal folds and/or include coughing, which can further inflame and potentially injure the vocal folds.
That said, knowing what to do ahead of fall and winter can make a difference in the long run when it comes to your voice. Some things you can do to take care of your throat and vocal folds include:
While antihistamines are an option to curb your congestion and itchy eyes from allergies, they can also dry your mouth and throat. Nasal irrigation is a more appropriate way to treat your allergies without the negative side effects. You can also manage the amount of pollen you bring into your home by cleaning your clothes and your room after being outside and by using an air filter.
Your vocal folds work the best when they are adequately hydrated. Lori Ellen Sutton, MA, CCC-SLP, a CEENTA voice and swallowing specialist who practices out of our SouthPark office, offers some advice regarding vocal hydration. “It is generally recommended that you take in 64 to 80 ounces of plain water a day to stay hydrated, and more water to compensate for alcohol or caffeine intake. However, those with particular conditions limiting their fluid intake (such as congestive heart failure) should talk with a cardiologist to determine the right amount of water consumption suitable for them.”
Some of the most notable things about fall include the warm beverages you can enjoy to beat the cold weather, including coffee. Bear in mind that coffee can also dehydrate your throat, so be mindful of how much coffee you plan to enjoy. For optimal effectiveness, limit yourself to no more than two servings of caffeine and/or alcohol a day. Also, be sure to include more water throughout your day if you do drink caffeinated or alcoholic drinks to ensure that you remain hydrated. You can also swap coffee for warm beverages with little to no caffeine, like herbal tea. Everyone, especially singers, should strive to make these changes habitual through the year for better vocal health.
A sore throat is going to happen eventually, especially during fall and winter. When that happens, the temptation may come to work through it and push your vocal folds. Doing so may put you at risk for vocal fold injury. Your best solution is to rest, rehydrate, and to be mindful of any negative changes in your voice quality or function that does not resolve in two to three weeks. From there, schedule an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist for a formal evaluation.
This fall, keep your voice silky smooth with a vocal appointment with CEENTA. Our voice and swallowing specialists can examine your throat for a variety of voice disorders and provide the treatment options best suited for you. Schedule your next voice and swallowing appointment with CEENTA today by calling 704-295-3345 or by using your myCEENTAchart account.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.