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The Five ‘Worst Things’ You Can Do To Your Voice

09 March

Being Dehydrated
When we don’t have enough hydration, all the organs in the body suffer. I always imagine it as the difference between a dried prune and a plump one. The brain is one organ that works much more effectively when it’s hydrated and you sure need your brain when faced with a script to sort out. The muscles also need to be hydrated. The voice is created by using the brain and the muscles, which is why you need to drink at least 1 litre of water per day.

Drinking Alcohol, Smoking CigarettesThe Enemy of Hydration
Not only are cigarettes full of toxins and chemicals, which in the long term can and do cause permanent damage to your mouth, tongue, throat, aesophagus and lungs, they are incredibly dehydrating. So is alcohol, which is why we get a headache. I’m hardly advocating wowserism! Anyone know knows me, knows I like a drink but before a day in the studio, take it easy. Dehydration can make your voice raspy, croaky and crackly and your performance restricted and inconsistent.

Being Unfit
If your overall fitness is poor, your energy is at a low ebb and your weight is up, you’re putting stress and strain on your heart and lungs. Your performance at anything is going to be compromised. If this describes you…you know what to do. You need vitality and health to be a top notch voice performer.

Not Warming Up
I always warm up before a job. I have some simple techniques, tongue twisters and exercises that are part of my routine before I get to the studio. The difference between the range and variety of vocal gymnastics that can be achieved by a voice that has been thoroughly warmed-up is astonishing.

Screaming
Never ever scream! It can do permanent damage to your vocal chords. It may seem like a simple thing when you’re asked by a producer or director, but you must tell them, ‘sorry, I don’t scream’. There are so many different screams available to them in the massive library of sound effect (SFX) that they have. I would even take care with yelling, unless you’re really well warmed up and understand how to project your voice proficiently.

Abbe Holmes About Abbe Holmes
Find Your Voice As a Voice Over Actor And Artist With The Voice Over Coach. For over 30 years I've had a successful voiceover career. I work in mainstream voice over for radio and television, narration for the corporate sector, website content and documentaries, as well as characters for animation, IVR, ADR, on-hold and foreign film dubbing.

2 Responses to “The Five ‘Worst Things’ You Can Do To Your Voice”

  1. Daniel Foster March 5, 2020 at 8:48 am #

    I read someone in VO once say that they avoid clearing their throat, as it is detrimental to their voice. I can see screaming doing damage, but clearing the throat seems rather benign. Thoughts?

    • Abbe Holmes March 5, 2020 at 4:13 pm #

      Hi Daniel.
      Thanks for your comment. Well, I’ve certainly never heard that throat clearing damages the voice.
      I do know though that when I have any kind of respiratory ‘thing’ that causes coughing, I feel this does damage, but thankfully only short term.
      I think ‘coughing’, especially for those who have a chronic problem would be detrimental to a good consistent sound, rather than throat clearing, but I guess it would help if you didn’t clear your throat violently…if that makes sense. 🙂

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