Care of your voice

Taking Care of Your Voice

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Voice is the sound that is created by people by using their lungs and vocal folds in the voice box, but how does it work? The vocal folds are two bands of smooth muscle tissue that lie opposite each other in the larynx or voice box. The larynx is positioned at the passageway to the lungs. When at rest, the vocal folds are open to allow an individual to breathe. Once the folds are closed, air from the lungs passes through them, causing vibration and therefore produces sound. The sound from this vibration then travels through the throat, nose, and mouth creating voice.

It is important to take care of our voices, as we use it every day to communicate with others at home, work and at social gatherings. There are many things that we do that can place ourselves at risk for developing a voice problem such as:

  • Using your voice too much such as shouting for long periods or talking for a long period without taking a break
  • Excessive stress
  • Excessive coughing and throat clearing
  • Speaking on an already sore throat
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy eating that could cause reflux otherwise known as ‘heartburn’
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Chronic asthma or allergies
  • Irritants e.g. dryness of the air

What can you do to take care of your voice?

  • HYDRATION: drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day
  • DIETARY: reducing the intake of caffeine; chocolate; citrus; alcohol; cooldrinks; acidic, spicy and fatty foods
  • IRRITANTS: reduce or stop smoking; limit dust and chemical exposure
  • VOCAL MISUSE AND ABUSE: do not shout or strain your voice; rest your voice

Contact your health care provider if you have any concerns about heart burn; hoarseness; shortness of breath; voice fatigue; pain, discomfort or dryness of the throat, which are often symptoms of a voice disorder.

Please contact us for more information on voice, voice disorders and vocal hygiene.



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Samantha de Freitas

Speech and Language Therapist

Samantha de Freitas is a Speech and Language Therapist qualified at UCT in 2012. Currently she specialises in AAC


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