How to Heal Strained Voice: 3 Steps to a Quick Recovery

Does your voice feel strained, hoarse or tired after a long day of talking? Are you wondering how to heal strained vocal cords in an effective way so that you can use your voice as soon as possible? Let me share 3 steps to a quick vocal recovery.

Vocal Strain 

Let’s talk about vocal strain and what to do to get your voice back as soon as possible. If you are not sure whether you are straining your voice, here is a quick rundown of how to find out. 

Your vocal cords, or vocal folds, come together when you speak. There is breath pressure under the vocal folds and they respond to this pressure. When there is a balanced pressure, the vocal folds work under good conditions. When the air pressure is high, the vocal folds have to resist this pressure and as a result, they may strain. 

As a result, the vocal folds can become swollen. Some of the most typical symptoms of swollen vocal folds are a deeper sounding voice and an inability to produce high notes quietly. That’s because swollen vocal cords are thicker due to a fluid build up inside them and thicker vocal folds produce lower pitched sounds and have a hard time vibrating at high frequencies. This thickening is actually a protective mechanism to avoid more serious damage to the vocal folds. The fluid creates a cushion or a barrier to protect the vocal folds. 

3 Steps to Heal Strained Voice

Let’s talk about how to soothe a strained voice. 

Step 1 Rest Your Voice

If you strained your voice, for example by yelling, talking in a loud environment, singing outside of your vocal range, making unusual sounds that left your voice tired, scratchy, hoarse, breathy or croaky, your voice needs a break. This can be challenging for chatty people. But let me explain what vocal rest really means. Vocal rest doesn’t mean absolutely no talking. 

A relative vocal rest is using your voice for necessary communication needs and decreasing demands on your voice. So, you can continue talking but make sure that you are using your voice for vital communication needs.

Spend more time doing quiet activities, like reading, watching movies or texting to give your voice a deserved break. It takes a few days for the vocal folds to self-repair. It’s an amazing human organ that heals fairly quickly if you give it time.

If you are experiencing chronic vocal strain, tension or even pain when speaking, and you are ready to work towards a free, strong and confident voice, you can apply to our Vocal Freedom System coaching program. Click this link to find out more.

Stem 2 Hydrate Your Voice

Hydration is a basic vocal hygiene rule and it is the minimum everyone should do to keep the vocal folds in their best shape. Drinking of water or consumption of foods with high water content are snail pace delivery methods of hydration to our vocal folds. It simply takes time for the benefits of drinking to show up in our voice. The water that you drink does not come into direct contact with the vocal folds.

Therefore, I am a big fan of so-called external hydration, which is inhalation of moist air either with the help of a steamer or nebulizer. External hydration is the most direct way of hydrating your vocal folds and when they are swollen, this is a wonderful method of providing them with their basic need. Steaming may be helpful in bringing the swelling down.  

Step 3 Do Gentle Vocal Exercises

Even though your vocal folds are swollen you can engage in gentle voicing. SOVT or semi-occluded vocal tract exercises are a great tool for this purpose. SOVT exercises are sounds that are created in a vocal tract with a partial narrowing. For example, lip rolls have the narrowing at the lips, straw exercises create the narrowing with the straw, the fricative V has a narrowing at the front of the mouth and the vowel eee has a narrowing at the back of the mouth. These are just a few examples.  

SOVT exercises are very gentle on your vocal folds. They use minimal vocal effort for sound production because the air pressures below and above the vocal cords are equalized. The sound production is easy, more coordinated and less damaging to the vocal folds. Therefore, semi-occluded vocal tract exercises are a great choice for people with strained voices.

Watch this video for more details on the topic:

Link to the video:


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