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Vocal Hygiene

With so many phone and video meetings, plus talking through a mask, my vocal folds have been feeling hoarse and tired from speaking loudly and hydrating less. Follow these tips to avoid damage and keep your vocal folds healthy and comfortable. 


  • Take frequent sips of water as you talk to keep your vocal folds continuously hydrated.
  • Plain water is best. Lemon, tea, and coffee can all dehydrate your vocal folds. 

Warm Up

Your vocal folds are a muscle, so complete these warm ups to get them ready to use, or to relax them after a long day of talking.

Focus on relaxing and using your breath, not your muscles, to start any sound. That is, you should begin to exhale before you begin to hum, sing, or speak. This helps your vocal folds move together gently without tension. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

For illustrations and more information, visit https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9445-diaphragmatic-breathing

  • Sit comfortably, with your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.


  • Begin by taking a deep breath in. Begin to exhale, then begin to gently hum. 
  • Start at a middle pitch, close to your speaking voice. Move up to your highest comfortable voice. Return to middle, then move to your lowest comfortable voice. 
  • Yawn/sigh

Lip Trills

  • Make the “brrrr” sound by blowing air through your lips. Begin on your middle voice pitch, then high, then middle, then low. 


  • Open your mouth wide as if to yawn, then breathe out while saying “ahhhhhhhh” 


  • If you know you have a lot of talking to do, try to talk less before and after to give your vocal folds time to rest and repair. Hydrate well with water during this time. 
  • When you do talk, take deep breaths and use a quiet, natural voice without whispering. 


  • If you hold tension in your jaw, take your index and middle finger and gently rub your TMJ, the joint where you jaw attaches to your skull

If you or a loved one is in need of Speech Therapy please call CWJR at 586-323-2957 to get started!

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