Learning to cope with losing your voice as a coach or teacher isn’t easy. In our first article in this series, we looked at some practical tips for navigating this unpleasant scenario. Here are a few more ways you can try to either avoid losing your voice or get it back as quickly as possible when you do lose it.
Do whatever you possibly can to avoid raising your voice unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you have to address a large group, use a microphone or megaphone whenever possible. Instead of yelling to get someone’s attention from another room, text them, call them on a cellphone, or use an intercom system.
Use Good Eye Contact When Communicating
Looking someone in the eye can help you communicate more clearly, especially with people who suffer from hearing loss. Making sure the person you are addressing is looking at you can make a big difference when it comes to the amount of volume you need to use when you speak.
Avoid Mouth Breathing
When you breathe through your mouth, you’re more likely to dry out your vocal cords than when you breathe through your nose. Try to keep your mouth closed when you breathe. This tip is especially helpful to remember if you’re exercising and taking deep breaths.
If you feel your voice starting to give out or your throat begins to feel sore, try not to talk as much. If you’re a teacher, you could quietly let the class know about your difficulty speaking and then put an assignment up on the board for them to do quietly at their seats. If you’re a coach, you could let the assistant coach or a team captain do most of the talking for you during the next practice or game.
Now that we’ve considered some of the best ways to deal with a lost voice, we’ll look at some of the supposed remedies people often turn to and why many of them actually may do more harm than good.
Should You Drink a Hot Toddy?
Perhaps you grew up in an era where an alcoholic beverage infused with various spices was used as a kind of universal cure-all for coughs and sore throats. If so, you may be in for a disappointment. Today, medical professionals discourage people with vocal problems from drinking alcoholic drinks. As mentioned in our previous article, alcohol can dry out your vocal cords even more severely, leading to a worsening of your symptoms.
Should You Drink Honey and Lemon?
Another common home remedy for a sore throat is honey and lemon mixed with hot water or tea. The problem with this alleged cure is that it contains acidic ingredients. Both tea and lemon can lead to acid reflux which could make your vocal cords feel even more irritated than they already do. If you leave out the tea and lemon, the hot water and honey may feel soothing and help you feel more hydrated.
Should You Use Slippery Elm Lozenges
Lozenges made from slippery elm tree bark are promoted as a way to fight a sore throat and lost voice. There’s no real evidence to back these claims, however. Though they won’t hurt you, they probably won’t really provide any relief or healing. Any supposed healing may simply be the result of a placebo effect.
Coaches, teachers, and anyone in a speaking profession would love to find an overnight cure for a lost voice. In reality, getting your voice back to normal will take time and patience. The key is to make sure you go easy on your voice as soon as you notice that it’s starting to sound strained.