I don't know much about VO but I sing and have lost my voice a million times! In fact, I had so many throat infections and tonsil issues that my doctor told me to stop singing. I said NEVER! I learned that a healthy body doesn't get sick. So, I started seeing a chiropractor, lost weight, exercised, changed my diet and got some old fashioned SLEEP!
If you lose your voice, if it's red and raw, gargle with hot salt water (not too hot). You never want to burn your throat and you want to avoid coughing at all costs. You can spray your throat with chloroseptic. Rub it with Vicks at night. Hot tea with honey and lemon. Losengers. Mucinex or sinus medicine (if applicable). If it persists or gets worse, see your doctor. You may need antibiotics. But you must take a couple of days and rest. I have gone to singing engagements with NO voice, sipping on hot tea with lemon and praying for a miracle. God ALWAYS provides! It's like He opens your voice and allows you to minister. He uses you for His glory and when I was done singing, I went right back to having no voice! Amazing! So, there's no magic. You have to take care of yourself all the time and when you're sick, your body needs time to bounce back.
Amen, Tisha. Here are some more voice health tips learned from a top voice Doc I interviewed when I wrote my book Speak To Influence:How to Unlock The Hidden Power of Your Voice.
Voice talents should see a doctor immediately if you lose your voice for a diagnosis. Dont take antibiotics unless its a bacterial infection. They wont work for a virus. Laryngitis can also be caused by allergies, yelling (which voice talent should NEVER do), over use, and certain medications, foods or drinks which can dry out and strip the vocal folds of needed lubrication. During long narration sessions avoid green or black tea at all costs (the tannin dries the throat) and any lozenge that contains menthol. Be extra careful with over the counter nasal sprays and nose drops, allergy medication and the like, as they can be extremely drying and effect the sound of the voice. As Tisha says, you have to take care of your body if you want a healthy sounding voice. But you also have to take care of your spirtual and psychological life. Your voice is the mirror of your soul and if thats not doing too well, everyone will hear it in your voice. So make sure you put first things first. Here's to your health!
Too true, and here I think Susan is right: knowing your limits is key. Be attentive; if you feel it coming on, you've got to respect yourself and slow down! I learnt that the hard way... Sometimes saying NO and keeping quiet for a few days is the only solution. Watch movies (but avoid laughing!), read a book, catch up on house work... Your body usually likes you when you acknowledge it and take care of it. And if this is difficult for you...ask yourself why? What is really at the bottom of this? Identify it, because it's probably your Achilles heal.
Taking it easy may hurt the ol' pocketbook, but it's better than not being able to work at all later.
One thing I learned from my Ear, Nose and Throat guy was to take Advil when I'm having problems. It reduces the inflammation. I had developed polyps during a show as well because I wasn't singing correctly and I had to go on vocal rest. Also, during the rehearsal process for a show I've been doing for almost four years, I got so tight that my throat was hurting. It's a solo show with me and the audience. I decided to go back to taking voice lessons just to learn how to support my voice by breathing. Rest is good for the voice as well and supporting it by using the diaphragm. Just my .02.
Yes inflammation can cause many problems, if you can decrease the swelling, your sinuses can drain and help things clear up quicker. The major problem with the drainage though is that you will most likely be hoarse from irritated vocal cords for some time. I personally don't take antibiotics unless the infection has gone longer than a few days. The antibiotics can actually end up causing the bacteria to become resistant to it and you end up with a worse problem. I found that I get less sinus infections since trying to limit antibiotic use than when I used them more often.
I had to do a dress rehearsal once totally silent when I lost my voice the week before opening night. I rested the entire week. Was funny when I heard the sound guys didn't know and were going crazy trying to adjust my mic.
Great tips, thank you everyone for posting them!! I am at the end of a head cold and, as usual, it went right to my voice... as an opera major in college I lost my voice for a couple months due to acid issues. I thought that was frustrating but now that I'm in VO I find it even more so. It's obviously a weak spot for me, so I lose it more often than not. It's difficult whenever I get a head cold to get back into the booth quickly. Having a 2 year old makes "vocal rest" very challenging, although I know it is the best medicine.
Surprisingly I never realized green tea was drying but I knew about avoiding menthol lozenges. Very interesting tip about Advil... my vocal coach in college told us she would never do a session if anyone had taken Advil b/c you could hurt your vocal chords while singing and not necessarily realize it b/c of the meds, however, the idea of taking it to reduce inflammation makes perfect sense. My throat no longer hurts at this point (in the cold), it just still has a raspy quality to it, but it is better than being super deep or not there at all! I need to get back behind the mic tomorrow, so let's hope for the best! Tons of tea, gargling, (Advil?) and as much vocal rest as I can do... thanks again guys, great info!