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Suffolk Center for Speech


What is vocal Hygiene?

Our vocal folds are what we use to produce voicing for speech. Vocal folds are thin elastic bands of tissue found in the larynx. When we breathe air builds up beneath our vocal folds and blows them apart causing them to vibrate, kind of like when we pluck a guitar string! It is this vibration that creates the sound that we shape into speech. However, if we don’t take care of our vocal folds they can get damaged whether it be that they get inflamed, develop nodules or polyps, etc.. This will alter how our vocal folds move and thus can change the way our voice sounds making it hoarse, strained, or raspy. Good vocal hygiene is important to prevent any damage to our vocal folds and also to help improve our vocal quality if we are already experiencing any deficits in voice production. Examples of good vocal hygiene would be making sure we stay hydrated, avoiding smoking and smokey environments, as well as eating and sleeping well. This is particularly important if we engage in activities that could be damaging to our vocal folds. You might be surprised to learn that almost all of us have engaged in activities that could possibly damage our vocal folds! Some potentially damaging activities include talking for extended periods of time, talking too loudly, excessive coughing or throat clearing, and excessive yelling or cheering. Learning about vocal health is the first step towards good vocal hygiene!


Sapienza, C., & Hoffman, B. (2018). Voice disorders. Plural Publishing.

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