Singer Health and Wellness Tip #5: AC and Central Heating

While we all love Air Conditioning in the hot summer months and Central Heating in the cold winter months, neither one of these are a Singer’s friend.  Vocal folds vibrate against each other in order to produce sound. In order to vibrate properly and to work effectively, they need to be well lubricated with moisture.

Air conditioners and Central heating are sometimes very necessary but really not good for your speaking and singing voice. On the one hand you don’t want to freeze in your own home, but on the other, all that heated, dry air is not good for your voice.  Nor do you want to be in an overly hot summer house, but the air conditioner cools the air by pulling out all the moisture.  So what to do??

Tips for protecting your Voice:

  1. Hydration should be your #1 priority throughout the day. A singer should give the body at least two hours before a lesson, audition or performance to benefit from fluid intake. In other words, it isn’t sufficient to wait until the lesson or performance to begin drinking water. You have to hydrate the whole body in order to hydrate the vocal folds, because the water you drink never touches the vocal folds.  A person should drink enough water during a twenty-four hour period to make their urine run clear. As stated before, room temperature water is best, since cold water can have a numbing effect on the throat, tongue and mouth.
  2. Clean Air Conditioners, Heaters, Radiators, and Filters weekly/monthly:  get rid of dust and general gunk that you wouldn’t want to breathe.
  3. Add moisture by singing in the shower! Warm-ups in the warm steamy water is great for the sinus cavity and vocal folds.
  4. Humidifier: Use a cool-mist humidifier to add water vapor into the air. (Warm-mist models are prone to bacterial growth.) If you don’t have a humidifier, a bowl of water on top of the radiator or near a heat source is a good option. How about a mini-spa in your own home? All you need is a bowl of hot water (hot enough that it steams), and a towel. Place the towel over your head and lean over the bowl. Breathe in the moist air and enjoy!