Why is vocal hygiene important?

Voice disorders can be treated directly with therapeutic techniques and indirectly with lifestyle changes and daily habits. The goal of voice hygiene is to balance the physiologic subsystems of voice production which are respiration, phonation, and resonance. These changes can have an impact on vocal recovery and overall health.

What are some maladaptive behaviors and habits to target?

Behaviors and habits that are contributing to the voice problems are:

  • Shouting
  • Talking loudly over noise
  • Coughing/ throat clearing
  • Poor hydration
  • Lack of sleep
  • Foods that can irritate the vocal folds:
  • Caffeine- in coffee, tea, chocolate, sodas 
  • Carbonated beverages 
  • Mint and menthol 
  • Fatty/fried foods 
  • Citrus fruits 
  • Tomato products 
  • Spicy foods 
  • Alcohol

How can you improve your vocal health?

Healthy vocal hygiene practices include

  • Drinking plenty of water (approximately 64 oz or 8 glasses a day)
  • Avoid mentholated cough drops and vitamin C lozenges
  • Increase humidity in your home with a humidifier or vaporizer
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol, caffeine, and other foods that irritate the voice.
  • Stay away from smokey and dusty environments
  • Avoid shouting, yelling, screaming, cheering, and excessive loud noise. Instead use substitute activities: wave your hands, whistle, stomp your feet, or use a noisemaker.
  • Avoid speaking or singing too loudly.
  • Avoid whispering
  • Cough or clear throat only when necessary. Try to swallow first, hard swallow, or take a sip of water.
  • Rest your voice briefly (3-5 min.) and frequently throughout the course of the day. 
  • Make sure you are using an adequate supply of breath
  • Use amplification when needed when speaking such as microphone
  • Cut back on talking when you have an upper respiratory infection such as a cold or laryngitis.
  • Check medications to ensure the side effects don’t cause dryness
  • Get enough sleep per night (6-8 hours)


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (N.D.). Voice Disorders. (Practice Portal). Www.Asha.Org/Practice-Portal/Clinical-Topics/Voice-Disorders/.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Asha Offers Tips For Teachers To Protect Their Voices This School Year. Https://Www.Asha.Org/News/2020/Asha-Offers-Tips-For-Teachers-To-Protect-Their-Voices-This-School-Year/

Otolaryngology Associates, P.C. Vocal Hygiene Program. Http://Www.Entmds.Net/For_patients/Vocal_hygiene_program.Aspx
Tufts Medical Center. Acid Reflux Precautions. Https://Www.Tuftsmedicalcenter.Org/-/Media/Brochures/Tuftsmc/Patient-Care-Services/Departments-And-Services/Otolaryngology/Acid-Reflux-Precautions.Ashx?La=En&Hash=Ce97c87f4565d1a700723cbcca87a1dc79c14b70

Vocal Hygiene Advice

Westside Voice and Swallowing