Kristie Knickerbocker examines the impact of common drinks on vocal acoustics.
A student at one of my lectures saw me drinking ice-cold water in my handy Tervis cup. Those things are indestructible and I have one for every day of the week. Obsessed? Maybe.
There is no evidence to suggest that cold water is bad for your vocal cords, I told him.
Some think cold water can tighten the vocal muscles, but there is no scientific study proving this to be true. In fact, some singers prefer cold water over warm.
I know bodies react differently to certain things because we are all different, so if you feel cold water affects your singing voice adversely, then don’t drink it.
Just know that there hasn’t been a randomized control trial proving room-temperature is best for your vocal performance.
A moderate intake of caffeine should not affect vocal acoustics. I always ask my patients to limit their intake daily, and to counter each cup of coffee or caffeinated beverage with an equal amount of water.
Beer actually counts toward hydration, interestingly enough. Researches have found that when you are dehydrated, drinking beer will not only get you drunk, but hydrate you as well.
This is not meant to encourage each of you to get out there and get drunk prior to a performance. Some singers are very affected by alcohol and cannot stay on pitch when under its influence.
Caffeine was found to usually not impact vocal acoustics if consumed conservatively (100mg), and another study showed that caffeine does not adversely affect voice production at all.
Also, not related to the voice specifically, one study even suggests that coffee hydrates similarly to water.
Bottom Line: Cold or hot, it’s your choice. And when there’s a choice, go with water over alcohol. Caffeine consumption should be examined along with other factors when recommending cessation in the therapy room. When I look at this, I think, Starbucks? Why not.
This is the sixth and final article in a series by Kristie Knickerbocker.
Previous article: Which Foods Will Improve Your Singing Performance?
First article: Marijuana, E-Cigarettes and Vocal Health
Kristie Knickerbocker, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist in Fort Worth, Texas. She provides voice, swallowing and speech therapy in her own private practice, a tempo Voice Center, LLC. She also lectures on the singing voice to area choirs and students. She belongs to ASHA’s Special Interest Group 3-Voice and Voice Disorders. She keeps a blog on her website at www.atempovoicecenter.com
This article is adapted from Kristie’s blog which first appeared on The American Speech Language Hearing Association site www.Asha.org