vocal health

Vocal health: top tips from pros

In this section of our How to take care of your voice series with Atlanta voice over studio, we’ll cover important tips for vocal health, especially during winter, how to get your voice back if you lost it, and helpful articulation exercises. 

What is vocal health? 

5 ways of maintaining your vocal health through the winter (brought to you by Nathaniel Sundholm of Emory Voice Center)

1. Hydrate: Systemic hydration is important all year round. We often need a few more reminders when it’s cold out to drink beverages that hydrate and don’t just warm. Hot apple cider is a beverage that does both!

2. Humidify: Winter months typically have a lower ambient humidity AND most forced-air heating systems further dry out our environment. It is important to use a cool-mist humidifier in your bedroom every night AND in your working spaces throughout the day.

3. Steam: Steam is a natural way to open up your air passages. It can help relieve congestion throughout your airway without drying it out too much. This is a great daily practice for getting ready to work as well as a useful recovery tool after a long day of recording.

4. Take time to warm up: The muscles that support your voice can get stiff and sore when bracing against the cold. Taking time to warm up your voice, breathing, and body is an essential component of having a flexible, dynamic sound. Try humming,  lip trills, big yawns, big sighs, and even some light stretches of your whole body.

5. Beware of decongestants and menthol: Many over-the-counter medications and cough remedies can dry you out! Prolonged use of mentholated products can also irritate your throat, having the opposite effect of what is desired. More supportive alternatives typically have pectin or xylitol. We typically recommend Luden’s.

Hoarseness is never normal! If you're experiencing voice changes for 2 weeks or more, reach out to a voice-specialized Ear, Nose, and Throat physician to address your trouble. Early detection and treatment of voice disorders are essential for professional voice users.

How to get your voice back if you've lost it

If you lose your voice as a voice actor, it’s a big deal. It can be very scary. The majority of the time, it DOES get better but if you don’t see improvement within 3-7 days, call your doctor.


  1. The first thing to do if you lose your voice is – DON’T USE IT! It needs time to heal. Truly rest your voice.
  2. The second thing that has made the biggest impact on me is GARGLING WITH WARM SALT WATER.
    Doing it right before bed has been the most effective for me.
  3. In addition to not using your voice, DON’T WHISPER. Whispering will just irritate your vocal cords even more.
  4. DRINK SOMETHING WARM. Not like hot chocolate or hot cider but herbal tea.
  5. Add some moisture to your throat with the steam from a HOT SHOWER or a FACE STEAMER.
  6. Keep a HUMIDIFIER going to keep those airways moisturized. 

If it’s really bad, speak to your doctor about prescribing something to help with the inflammation.

How to stop voice cracking

Voice cracking can happen due to various reasons. Adult puberty is not one of them. Use this list to ensure you’re doing the things to prevent voice cracking.

  • Vocal Warm-Ups – to exercise your voice
  • General Vocal Healthstaying hydrated, avoiding too much dairy, and getting enough rest.
  • Check your PostureI realized earlier this year, I had gotten into the habit of pushing my head forward to look at my script. That was creating tension in my throat, which was creating tension in my vocal cords. Make sure you’re standing or sitting in a position that isn’t creating any tightness.
  • Good Breath Support – are you using your diaphragm to support your breathing? If you aren’t, depleted airflow can cause cracking sometimes. 

Vocal health: articulation exercises

I know everyone pushes tongue twisters and those are great but the quickest way to be able to articulate a word/phrase better (or just get better at articulation in general) is to:

  • Take a pen/pencil and place it horizontally between your mouth and teeth. 
  • With it placed there, repeat the word/phrase several times in a row
  • Take it out and then say the word/phrase.

Your articulation will be as smooth as butter doing this!

Special thanks to Heidi Rew for sharing these practical tips, exercises, and insights! 

Share this post!

A blog owner yourself? Relevant links to quality sites will help your performance on search engines. If your readers will benefit from the services or information on The Booth's Voice over Guide, please consider linking to this post or the guide itself.