Written by KTC Speech & Language Pathologist, Chaya Patel.
Vocal hygiene is a term used to describe and promote healthy vocal quality. Like our everyday hygiene we need to take care of our voice as the impact of strain, vocal misuse and increased use of throat clearing can all have a negative impact on our vocal quality.
Vocal misuse is when we do not appropriately use our voice. This can include increased amounts of screaming, yelling, throat clearing, and whispering. These all put a strain on our vocal cords and over time can impact the quality of our voice. As kids we all enjoy yelling and screaming to be heard or to cheer on our friends, however we need to be mindful of excessively producing these as they can impact our vocal quality, making us sound hoarse and husky.
HOW CAN WE PRACTICE GOOD VOCAL HYGIENE?
1. Stay hydrated – drink water throughout the day to support hydration
2. Reduce strain – use simple breathing exercises and/or techniques to reduce tension
3. Maintain appropriate volume throughout the day – inside voice vs our outside voice
Everyday habits, environmental factors and use of talking can all impact our vocal hygiene. Poor vocal hygiene can lead to losing our voice, change in vocal quality and developing vocal nodules/polyps. For more information regarding the importance of vocal hygiene head to speechpathologyaustralia.com.au.
The 5 point scale below can be used to provide a visual reference to support your child to use their ‘inside voice’ and show them when it may be ‘too loud’ (The Trip Clip, 2021)