National Opera Week – Voice Tip #5 – Avoid throat-clearing and coughing
As part of National Opera Week we got some great tips from The National Center for Voice and Speech to keep your voice in tip-top shape. Check back all week for new tips!
Tip #5. Repeatedly clearing the throat or coughing may irritate vocal fold tissues.
When a foreign substance (e.g. food or mucous) comes in contact with the tissues of the larynx, the normal response of the body is to expel the substance by coughing or clearing your throat. While avoiding the aspiration of those substances into the lungs is certainly important, excessive coughing or clearing of the throat can cause irritation and inflammation of the vocal folds and surrounding laryngeal tissues. To avoid causing such irritation and inflammation, it is best to minimize coughing or clearing the throat whenever possible. Many times, sipping water, swallowing, or sucking on a throat lozenge will reduce the urge to cough or clear the throat. If the urge persists, a “baby cough” may provide just enough impetus to expel the offending substance while causing minimal irritation to the vocal folds.