I Scream, You Scream
By Maxine E. Van Doren, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech and Voice Therapy Center, LLC
If you’re heading to a fright fest this Halloween, make sure you don’t bring the spooky home with you! Vocal cord injuries (such as nodules or hemorrhaging) can occur in as little as one evening of vocal misuse, resulting in hoarseness or vocal fatigue. Here are 4 tips to care for your voice this Halloween, so what happens at fright fest stays at fright fest:
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Vocal cords are very susceptible to dehydration, and nodules love a dry larynx.
- Consider using a “silent scream” face or an alternative that is easier on the voice such as a gasping or “screaming” quietly.
- Use diaphragmatic breathing when screaming to provide appropriate power and support for your voice. This can help prevent extra muscle tension in the throat.
- If you feel like you’re straining your voice, then trust your feelings and give your voice a rest. While you’re at it, have a sip of water.
If your voice sounds hoarse for more than 2 weeks following your outing, don’t wait for the problem to go away on its own. Make an appointment to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) physician to have your throat evaluated for possible injuries. Early treatment can improve your symptoms, and provide you with techniques for healthy voice use in your everyday life.