World Voice Day: 8 Bad Habits That Are Destroying Your Voice
World Voice is celebrated to celebrate our unique ability to talk. (Photo credits: Flickr)

If there is one quality that differentiates human beings from the other animals is our unique ability to communicate using our voices. A monkey’s distinct screech may alert its troops that there is danger is nearby or a tom cat’s yowling can tell a female cat he’s in heat. How is our communication any different? The fact that we can communicate abstract ideas beyond the primal ones related to safety and food is what makes us truly distinct. As Bertrand Russell once said: “No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor but honest.” We are capable to gauge somebody’s mood by the modulations in his voice. Whether the sentence spoken is question or a statement can be understood by a person’s intonation. To celebrate this unique quality and to demonstrate the importance of voice in our lives, we observe World Voice Day every year on April 16.

But rarely do we take good care of our unique gift. Some everyday things we do without thinking can damage our voice. Here are a few of them.

1 Smoking

A smoker’s voice stands out from a non-smoker’s and there’s a good reason why. Smoking lends a distinct hoarseness their voice as a result of the microscopic alterations made to the vocal cords by cigarette smoke. The toxic smoke also affects the mucous membranes of the throat, drying out the vocal cords. This causes irritation and swelling inside the throat.

2 Shouting

Go ahead cheer for your favourite football team. But try keeping it down. Yelling and hollering causes inflammation of the vocal cord muscle, causing a sore throat and hoarse voice. That’s why most people “lose” their voice a day after they have a loud argument with their spouses. People who are required to use their voice constantly end up suffering from throat polyps and nodules.

3 Dehydration

Voice over artists and singers make it a point to frequently sip on warm water to keep their vocal cords moist and healthy. Water lubricates your focal folds. A dry throat will cause more problems, leading to nodules in the vocal cord.

4 Caffeine

Too much caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee and colas can dry out your body, since they act as diuretics, expelling water out of the body. The dehydration caused by caffeine ends up affecting the throat too.

5 Alcohol

Another substance that wrecks your voice is alcohol. Like caffeine, alcohol can depletes your body of its water by decreasing the level of an anti-diuretic hormone. Sometimes, alcoholic drinks can trigger vomiting, leading to a further depletion of water from the body.

6 Talking in false voice

It’s fun to annoy someone by mimicking their voice. But don’t go overboard. Certain voices like whispering, growling, screeching and squeaking can be terribly bad for your vocal folds.

7 Talking while exercising

This may seem silly, but avoid talking during any physically exerting activity. It makes you put extra efforts to vocalise, damaging your voice in the process.

8 Not Treating Acidity

Habits the worsen GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease or acidity can be ruining your voice. Reflux laryngitis is the loss of voice caused by the stomach acid travelling up the oesophagus and irritating the larynx.

Our voice is an important part of our identity. It’s also an important tool for communication. That’s why it’s important that we take good care of it. So preserve your voice well by avoiding these mistakes.