Using a crutch to get you through a performance may backfire on you- says Speech Language Pathologist Kristie Reece Knickerbocker.
Backstage you often see performers spraying their throats with their signature concoction. “I never leave home without it,” some boast.
I have seen a recent uptick in questions regarding effectiveness and rationale for use of these types of sprays. A 2004 study on the effects of laryngeal lubricants, like Entertainer’s Secret, revealed that even if a spray affects the vocal fold vibratory pressure, after 20 minutes it is like you never used it.
Throat Coat tea contains slippery elm bark, a demulcent (agent that forms a soothing film over a mucous membrane) that soothes irritated tissue, and is not FDA approved to cure anything.
There are no studies on how it directly affects the voice, but the steam from a hot beverage will most likely topically hydrate your vocal folds as you inhale, so that’s a plus.
A hydrating beverage will also provide you with internal hydration to lubricate the vocal folds from within the body.
Beware of Masking
Like any pain, though, if your throat is hurting, don’t mask the problem by using numbing spray or another band-aid.
Your body is trying to tell you something and if you silence it, you could injure yourself further.
Know your body. I’m all for throat coat tea, ginger tea, lemon water, whatever – if you say it helps you feel better.
I am against using any of that to hide pain so you can perform. If you are not giving your body time to heal, you’ll end up with a bigger problem.
Bottom Line: Using any crutch will usually get you through a performance, but “getting through” something may backfire on you.
Instead, try to maintain a balance by keeping your body healthy, listening to it, and caring for your vocal folds even more fervently because you can’t see them.
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.