Patient Information on Vocal Hygiene and Vocal Behaviour Strategies
Who is this information for?
This information is for patients, families and carers who require support in maintaining good vocal
hygiene and vocal behaviour.
What is vocal hygiene?
Vocal hygiene assists in promoting good voice use and verbal communication through strategies aimed
at reducing throat dryness or irritation and improving vocal behaviour.
What are the strategies to reduce throat dryness and irritation?
- Do not smoke; avoid smoky environments
- Minimise drinking alcohol, particularly spirits,
- Minimise caffeine intake which can be found in tea, coffee and chocolate as this can lead to dehydration
- Avoid medicated throat lozenges which can dry your throat
- Minimise spicy or fried foods and avoid too many dairy products
What are vocal behaviour strategies?
- Avoid talking above high noise levels such as music, machines or loud talking
- Avoid talking, shouting, cheering or singing at loud levels
- Avoid excessive talking when you have a respiratory tract infection or when your voice is tired
- Avoid talking or singing in a strained way
- Don’t clench your teeth or tense your tongue or jaw
- Avoid excessive throat clearing or coughing – swallow hard or drink water instead
- Avoid whispering or using an unnaturally soft, breathy voice
- Gently warm up and warm down the voice if you intend to use your voice for prolonged or intense periods
- Don’t ignore symptoms of throat discomfort if the symptoms persist. Throat symptoms often suggest that the voice is tired and needs a rest, or that there is a problem that needs addressing.
- Know your voice. This includes knowing when your voice is tired or sore.
How can I help my voice?
- Drink plenty of water.
- Try plain steam inhalation and keep rooms humidified and ventilated
- Eat regular, balanced meals and do not eat just before going to bed
- Get plenty of sleep
- Rest your voice if you have a sore throat or a cold
- Learn to relax and make time each day to do so
- Do regular exercise
Concerns or questions?
You can contact your ENT Specialist at the Melbourne ENT Group (MEG):
Your GP is also the best contact for ongoing care and concerns.