A member asked:

Advice for vocal health? as a singer, i was wondering what sort of advice there is concerning vocal health; are there foods i should avoid, activities i should try to limit, or habits to get into?

2 doctors weighed in across 2 answers
Dr. Steven Feinberg answered

Specializes in ENT and Head and Neck Surgery

As a singer, your vocal health is paramount. To maintain it, you should be conscious of your diet. In general, foods that promote the reflux of acid can have a negative impact on the voice and on vocal health. Obviously, not everyone suffers from reflux of acid, but singers are predisposed due to the negative pressure which develops in the chest with deep inspiration, that tends to draw acid up from the stomach. Avoidance of excessively spicy, acidic, and fatty foods is recommended. Carbonated liquids, alcohol and caffienated liquids also promote reflux. Wine is a particularly strong promoter of reflux. And the single most important factor to maintain vocal health is to stay very well hydrated. Caffiene and alcohol lead to dehydration and should be enjoyed in moderation. Meals within 2-3 hours of bedtime should also be avoided. As far as activities, i strongly recommend avoiding vocal strain. This means that if it ever becomes painful to speak or sing it is time to rest the voice. Avoidance of situations where you may be required to speak or sing over loud ambient noise is recommended. Examples include nightclubs, sporting events or loud concerts. If you are a parent, avoid yelling at your children or cheering loudly at sporting events. Provide yourself with a vocal break each day where your vocal cords have time to rest and recover. If you have never seen a laryngologist, i would recommend a baseline examination of your vocal cords. This is useful for several reasons. For one, you will get an idea of your current vocal health and the presence of any changes of your vocal cords that might predispose you to future problems. An annual vocal cord exam is important for healthy singers, because when problems arise it is nice to compare with what things looked like in the healthy state. In addition, if you have the resources, and if you have never done so, i would consider voice lessons and formal voice training. This can help prevent common injuries that affect the voice.

Answered Oct 3, 2016

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Dr. Ed Friedlander answered

Specializes in Pathology

Singing brings happiness both to you and others. Even madonna and justin timberlake needed surgery for their singer nodules and i don't think there's any way to avoid them. I trust you're not a smoker. Eat what you wish but wisely (limit salt, grease, and sweets), stay lean and fit by staying physically active, and a few dollars a year for a vitamin-and-mineral supplement may be wise.

Answered Dec 9, 2013

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