Friday, November 16, 2012

My Voice

I'm a singer and in the summer I noticed mucus build up and voice breaks when I would warm-up for about 20 minutes.  Then came show time and I was fine and my voice felt good. It was the same thing in the fall - some days more mucus build up which made it hard to sing and some days it was less and I was fine. I rested my voice for almost a week and it felt ten times better. I still rest my voice often now. There is still mucus but after 5 or 10 minutes I feel fine and there is no problem. My voice feels the best and loose after a show or a practice. What is this? Is my voice damaged?

Joanna Lott, M.A., CCC-SLP replies... 
My best guess is that you are dehydrated. If you don't drink enough water (64 ounces per day), your mucous will get thick and sticky and your voice will crack and break. Or it could be allergy related. If you have seasonal allergies and this seems only to happen during allergy season, a mucolytic such as Mucinex may help. Taken with a large glass of water, a mucolytic will thin out your mucous. Thin mucous is less likely to interfere with vocal fold vibration. Voice rest is always a good idea, especially if you have heavy professional vocal demands. It is a good sign that your voice feels at its best after a show or practice. If your voice were damaged, it's more likely that you would feel hoarse or vocally fatigued after a lot of singing. But if you are still worried, see a laryngologist who specializes in the singing voice. Best of luck!

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