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Grossed Out by a Healthy Voice

Hi Anthony,

I’ve read your column now for several months and there is lots of excellent
advice. But, to be honest, I’m grossed out by the thought of nasal sprays and
sitting around with a steamer doesn’t fit my sense of how I want to spend my
evening. Are these things really necessary to get the most out of my voice?


Dear Gary:

I appreciate the sense of your comments; it is not my intention to suggest that good singing necessarily requires elaborate rituals of daily hygiene.

And the truth is, many singers, especially in the non-classical genre, just sing, taking their voice for granted as a god-given talent.

So if you are a singer who sings consistently well by dint of natural ability and hard work, the last thing you want to do is to fuss and obsess with your voice!

But if your voice is your lively-hood, you need it to be good and dependable – not now and then, but every time.

There are only a few professions where your reputation, and your paycheck, are on the line every time you do your work – singing is one of them.

Think of your vocal apparatus as your car, a machine that you drive hard, day after day.

You can maintain it, or you can fix it. The one thing you can not do, in this case, is trade it in! – you’re stuck with this one car for the rest of your life.

If you want it to dependably take you where you need to go, ongoing maintenance is the obvious answer!

It is inexpensive and harmless to maintain your voice, although, I agree, a bit boring.

Steaming, drinking lots of water and periods of voice rest are not sexy.

But trying to fix the voice once it’s broken is not only more expensive but also unpredictable. Either way, it’s the one voice you have.

As a famous throat specialist said once, you should always sing on the interest, not on the principal.

Don’t “spend” your vocal capital, because once it is gone, once you have run out of ways to compensate for a voice that is irretrievably damaged, you may be stuck.

Dr. Jahn

Dr. Jahn welcomes your questions. You can send these to editor@voicecouncil.com

This discussion is for general information and not to be construed as specific medical advice that you should obtain from your own physician.

  • Barrywomb

    Hello- I have a question regarding vocal health- every year about this time (Fall-winter) I seem to have problems with my voice. I have a high range and my voice is pretty dependable, but during these months, I seem to have problems where my voice will get really raspy and not as flexible. In year's past, when I've had these difficulties, I've used a time release program of prednisone tablets (I THINK!). I would take so many for so many days, and then the dose would taper off through the week until I finished. This has ALWAYS helped me in difficult times. My question to you is this: If this was done ONCE A YEAR as a preventative measure for these types of problems, would there be any long term effects? I'm not talking about a shot. I'm not talking about doing this more than once a year as the effects seem to help through the entire season, but for some reason, my voice just decides to be difficult during these times and I need help to get through my gig calendar. I've been singing since I was 15, I'm nearly 50 now and I still have these issues. I take voice lessons and have zero problems EXCEPT during this time of year. Thanks!