As winter blows through the northern hemisphere, the season brings with it the chilling threat of illness to those in the voice over industry. Nothing halts a voice over production faster than the actors losing their voices! Even worse, for the struggling actor or singer, blowing an audition because you’ve caught a cough can be a devastating hit.
Taking care of your voice during cold and flu season really just involves paying extra special attention to the normal tricks and habits that most voice over professionals should already be considering. For instance, be sure to drink LOTS of water with a minimum eight glasses of water of day to ensure proper hydration. In the winter this is especially true because the air tends to be dryer than usual, therefore vocal cords tend to become stressed with the relatively low humidity. In addition, many of us often drink extra coffee or tea to warm ourselves up, however these things, in combination with the dry air, only serve to dehydrate the body even more and, as a result, strains the vocal cords.
The common cold and flu prevention techniques will also keep your voice humming true during the winter season. Make sure you stay away from others with colds, wash your hands frequently, maintain a nutritious diet, get adequate sleep, and exercise your body and voice properly. If you do happen to come down with a cold, be sure to cough softly or not at all. Coughing and clearing your throat can seriously strain the vocal cords, thereby extending the period of time in which your voice is not working properly. Try swallowing or drinking some water when you first feel that tickle, and, as a last resort, cough GENTLY. Remembering this trick can shave days off the devastation of losing your voice. Also, try to avoid eating chocolate or drinking milk before performing, as these will coat your throat your voice will not sound as clear thus causing your to clear your throat more frequently.
In addition to illness and disease, winter also brings with it some exciting events. But, when you randomly run into your best friend from a decade ago, don’t go running up and screaming and shouting! Football season is nearing the playoffs, basketball is kicking off, and sports fanatics are sure to be rooting for their home teams. By all means, demonstrate your enthusiasm, but try doing so by dressing in full gear or with a giant foam finger rather than losing your main commodity in a heated fit of excitement.. One of the worst ways to lose your voice during the winter is with excessive cheer. When you shout or even talk, the cold and dry winter air is inhaled in greater volumes and dries the vocal cords faster. So, if you’re not drinking enough water, the vocal cords become more brittle and strained.
So, what’s the best advice we can give you for maintaining your voice during the winter season? Always keep a personal water bottle handy, don’t share it with anyone else, and be sure to keep your hands sanitized. Enjoy your winter season, but with the contained enthusiasm that will also leave you with a working voice in the aftermath.
Do you have other special tips or tricks to keeping your voice through cold and flu season?