Vocal Health: Dryness; The Obvious

Following really quickly on from yesterday’s blog post, as there is a pretty big, hopefully obvious, omission from that list of do’s and don’t’s to combat dryness…. (drum roll…)

….. smoking.

So, when I finished my last blog post saying there were other causes of dryness, what I was getting at is, anything that you inhale that isn’t moist (yes, I went there 😬) will probably have a detrimental effect on the vocal cords.

Smoking is the most obvious; but essentially, inhaling hot particles of anything is going to interfere with, and dry out, the layer of lubricant on the vocal cords. And, depending what is being smoked, irritate and inflame the then dried-out surface of the cords.

Other things that could have a similar effect include:

Air-conditioned air (very dry)

Airborne chemicals (use a lot of hairspray / cleaning product / polishing product for example?)

Incense (fairly large airborne particles)

Pollution, especially exhaust fumes

Dust (household, wood, earth)

Any other kinds of smoke (bonfire, open fire at home)

Dry ice

So, it’s worth having a think as to what you are exposed to in your daily life; can you take any measures to lessen it?

Otherwise what can we do to offset any negative effects from daily exposure to inhaled irritants…? You could try:

Daily steam inhalations

Drinking hot (as is comfortable) drinks that are hydrating

Chewing gum (encourages saliva which creates a moist environment)

Do all the other things on the good doc’s list (see previous blog post)

Again, we need to find out what works for us as individuals, but also, keep an eye on longevity. How long do you want to keep your voice healthy for? You might get away with smoking and singing in your early twenties, but as your vocal cords age, adding gradual damage to the ageing process may mean a vocal crash or breakdown later on.

In 2016, pop singer Adele was reported in the media to have said that she missed smoking, as she felt that stopping had made her voice weaker and she couldn’t hit the high notes anymore. This was after she had endured two surgical procedures to remove polyps and repair her haemorrhaging vocal cords, having touring extensively with a heavy smoking habit. As a result, she is unlikely to ever embark on a world tour again, as she has been advised it would probably end in yet another surgical procedure.

I’ll leave that pearl of wisdom with you !

For more info and practical application of the techniques and ideas discussed in this blog, please contact me or visit http://www.fionawallace.com

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