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Vocal Hygiene: Taking Care of Your Voice

Think about how often you use your voice everyday – talking on the telephone, visiting with friends, ordering at a restaurant. In addition to communicating your emotions and attitudes, your voice is strongly linked to your overall sense of self (Clark). Now, imagine what would happen if you developed a voice disorder.
Approximately 4 to 6 out of every 100 children have a voice disorder, or dysphonia. Vocal nodules are the most commonly cited condition in which small growths emerge on the vocal cords as a consequence of frequent yelling, dehydration, and/or coughing (Swallow, 2011). Just as children learn to brush their teeth and comb their hair, it is also valuable to teach them how to care for their voices (O, 2013).

Your voice is the result of many mechanisms working together, and the things you do to it on a daily basis can influence it for better or worse (Western University). For instance, a voice disorder is said to occur when there is an abnormal pitch, loudness, or quality of the sound produced by the larynx, affecting speech production in turn (Clark). Other symptoms of a voice disorder include (Western University):

  • Complete loss of voice
  • Vocal fatigue
  • Hoarseness
  • Breathiness
  • A husky quality
  • A squeaky sound
  • A harsh / strained quality
  • Reduced pitch and loudness
  • A reduction of vocal range or flexibility

The term vocal hygiene ultimately refers to the increase or decrease in behaviors and/or exposure to certain environments that promote a healthy voice and facilitate good verbal communication (Western University). It is important understand how to take care of your voice in order to overcome and prevent voice problems. Here are some key ways to build healthy habits from the start (Bremer, 2013):

  • Stay hydrated
  • Reinforce breath support – slow down when talking and take relaxed breaths as needed
  • Speak at a comfortable volume and without strain – don’t whisper or yell
  • Be gentle when clearing your throat
  • Neck massages

** It may also be beneficial to have you and/or your child evaluated by a Speech-Language Pathologist, especially if their symptoms have been persistent. At Simone Friedman SLS, we focus on both the educational and technical components of voice therapy. We are equipped with specific tools that promote vocal hygiene and improve voice quality. **


Bremer, M. (2013, September 05). Vocal Hygiene. Retrieved from

Clark, E., M.S., CCC-SLP. Speaking of Speech. Retrieved from

O, C. (2013, July 11). Say What? Voice Disorders in Kids: Vocal Hygiene Can Help Prevent or Improve Disorders. Retrieved from

Western University (2016). Your voice and Good Vocal Hygiene. Retrieved from

Swallow, D., M.A., CCC-SLP. (2011, October 24). Kids & Vocal Nodules: What Parents Should Know. Retrieved from

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