Ever feel like you struggle to find your voice? We mean literally. When you first wake in the morning it might take a few minutes before the frog in your throat hops off elsewhere and you can talk in a relatively normal voice. In the summer when it’s hot and you open your mouth to say something and a high pitched squeak comes out. Even in the winter, when you’ve got the central heating on full whack, and all you can muster is a hoarse grunt!
This is down to a combination of mild dehydration and a dry atmosphere. As talking is usually second nature – something we do without thinking about it – it can be difficult to remember that our vocal chords need good hydration in order to function just like the rest of our body.
There are a few factors that can impede our ability to speak clearly and which contribute to ‘drying out’ or dehydrating our vocal chords.
- Physical activity can make us lose water through sweating which needs to be replenished if dehydration is to be avoided.
- Heating/Air Con. Either of these (particularly in confined spaces) will dry out the atmosphere in no time at all!
- Some cold and flu or allergy medications can have a drying effect of the body.
- As a diuretic, caffeine based drinks make us lose more water through urination than regular water would.
- General illness. Just being under the weather can be dehydrating, particularly if you’re running a bit of a temperature. Your sore throat might not just be because you’re sick – it may be a knock on effect from water deficit.
- We all know how bad for our bodies the toxic chemicals from smoking are. First hit are our throats!
- Breathing in pollutants in the air are almost unavoidable. If you live near to an industrial area, or high traffic area where there are elevated vehicle fumes, it may be wise to wear an anti-pollution mask.
If you are suffering from a dry throat when you speak, you’re almost certainly dehydrated already. Drink water regularly, rather than just when you’re thirsty. After all, you will rarely see an artist singing on stage who doesn’t have a bottle of water to hand. When your voice is your livelihood you need to look after it!