Teachers and especially coaches know that occasionally losing one’s voice is a common problem for people in these professions. You can raise your voice to cheer on the team, shout out plays that players need to hear clear across the field, or emphasize an important point during an inspiring classroom lecture. All of that amplification can certainly take its toll. When that happens, it’s time to take action as soon as possible.
As a teacher or coach, your ability to communicate with your class or team is a crucial component of fulfilling your important role in their lives. If you’re suffering from a hoarse voice or sore throat that prevents you from being able to talk at a normal volume, it’s easy to feel frustrated. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to make this difficult experience a bit easier on both you and your students. Here is some helpful advice you can file away and pull out the next time you feel like you may be losing your voice.
Keep it Quiet
When you feel your throat getting sore or hear your voice getting hoarse, lower your volume. Force yourself to speak softly. Whispering when your voice is going out isn’t really a good idea, as it can strain the vocal cords nearly as much as loud talking.
Dry vocal cords are more likely to become strained. Water is the ideal liquid for keeping the vocal cords properly hydrated. Other liquids, such as milk or soft drinks, can actually lead to problems, such as causing vocal cords to dehydrate or creating excess mucus. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking as both can cause problems for your vocal cords.
Avoid Excessive Coughing
Sometimes you cough involuntarily when you get a cold. However, if you’re in the habit of coughing, hacking, and clearing your throat to avoid losing your voice, you may be doing more harm than good. You’re most likely irritating your vocal cords. Swallow more often when you feel the urge to cough or clear your throat.
Foster a Humid Environment
One reason people lose their voice is due to a lack of humidity in their living and working environments. If you live in a dry year-round climate or in a place where the air becomes dry in the wintertime, you may notice that it dries out your sinuses and may make your throat feel sore. If your classroom or bedroom has anything lower than a 40% humidity rate, you should take measures to add moisture to the air. You may want to consider using a humidifier.
Gargle With Salt Water
If you notice yourself feeling hoarse, add a teaspoon of salt to warm water and gargle it. This practice can get rid of excess mucus that has attached to your vocal cords.
There are plenty of great ways to try to avoid losing your voice. In our next article, we’ll take a look at a few more of those techniques. Then we’ll look at some common but ineffective ways in which people try to cope with sore throats and losing their voices. Some of these methods may even prove to be harmful.