We all know what happens when the temps drop and we have to crank up our heat indoors. Winter is a time of year when the air is drier and the temperature is colder, which can have a negative effect on your voice. It can be difficult to maintain vocal health when your body is constantly moving between cold and warm temperatures. If you are a voice over artist, it is important to focus on taking care of your voice during the winter months to ensure that it stays healthy and strong.
Hydration is Key
One of the most important things you can do to take care of your voice during the winter is to stay hydrated. When the air is dry, it can cause your throat to become dry and irritated, which can lead to hoarseness and other vocal issues. To keep your throat hydrated, it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid beverages that can dehydrate you, such as alcohol and caffeine. It can also be helpful to try to limit your consumption of salty foods, which can also cause dehydration. We also encourage voice actors to invest in a good vocal steamer to soothe irritated cords and keep them moisturized. Our top picks for steamer brands are Vicks and MyPurMist.
Finding Balance in Extreme Temperatures
In addition to staying hydrated, you should also avoid exposing your voice to extreme temperatures. Avoid going outside on cold days without protecting your throat, and try to keep your indoor environment as warm and humid as possible. Even if you are only running out to your car or into a store, you need to properly bundle up and protect your neck and throat. You can also consider usings a humidifier to add moisture to the air, and try to avoid spending too much time in front of fans or air conditioning units, which can dry out your throat. A helpful tip is to also invest in a digital humidity monitor which will show you the levels of moisture in the air and help you maintain a healthy level of humidity, especially during sleeping hours.
It is also important to avoid overusing your voice during the winter. If you have a cold or other respiratory illness, it is best to take a break from voice over work until you are feeling better. This will give your vocal cords time to rest and recover, and will help prevent further damage. Avoid socializing in noisy restaurants and gatherings that require you to talk over music and other conversations. If you do need to use your voice, try to avoid shouting or speaking for extended periods of time, and take regular breaks to give your voice a rest.
The Importance of Vocal Warm-Ups
Finally, make sure to warm up your voice before using it. Just as you would stretch before exercising, you should also do some vocal warm-ups before using your voice. This can help to loosen up your vocal cords and prepare them for use, and can prevent strain and injury. Some simple vocal warm-ups include humming, singing scales, or even just saying the alphabet out loud in a variety of different ways. A popular technique at the moment is phonating and humming through straws of various thicknesses. You can use standard drinking straws or purchase special vocal straws online to serve this purpose.
By following these tips, you can help to keep your voice healthy and strong during the winter months. Staying hydrated, avoiding extreme temperatures, taking breaks when needed, and warming up your voice before use can all help to protect your vocal cords and ensure that your voice stays in top shape.