VOCAL HYGIENE is a term used by voice specialists referring to behaviors and/or habits one may practice (or not practice) that impact vocal health. Good vocal health is one of the best ways to ensure your VOICE will function as it should and also withstand the vocal demands of your daily life. Just like you would take pristine care of your guitar (tune-up checks, protective case, handle-with-care attitude), or expensive car (maintenance, premium gas), or cell phone (protective case, insurance, etc.), you must take the ultimate care of your VOICE, as it is YOUR INSTRUMENT, and much more fragile than the aforementioned items. .
A fundamental aspect of vocal hygiene is HYDRATION (Vocal Hygiene: Episode #1). What a GREAT way to ensure your vocal mechanism (your instrument!) will be healthy, your vocal folds will vibrate efficiently, and your vocal quality will be clear and strong! Research shows that inadequately hydrated vocal folds do not vibrate effectively (and are also more prone to vocal injury)--therefore if you are not adequately hydrated, you may experience negative effects to your vocal quality ("hoarseness", vocal fatigue, pitch breaks, strain, etc.).
Get serious, and make this a priority! Hydration positively impacts your entire body, but is essential for a healthy and dynamic voice. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces daily. Set a goal everyday and be consistent about it... use a bottle with a known number of ounces, and figure out how many of those you need to drink daily to reach (or surpass) your goal. Another rule of thumb is to check the color of your urine--if you are "peeing pale", you are doing a good job on the hydration mission. A VOICEFIT motto: "PEE CLEAR, SPEAK WITH NO FEAR". Also, consider your use of any dehydrators (caffeine, alcohol, smoking, drying medications, and/or drying environments), and either reduce/eliminate them or increase your hydration overall to supplement. .
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