woman with sore throat holding hot tea


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Head Voice Coach

How do I soothe a tired or hoarse voice?

How do I help soothe a tired voice?

Will hot tea bring my voice back?

Well it happened… you have a performance this week and your voice is hoarse and raspy. You just want your voice back and you aren’t sure what to do! You tried honey lemon tea, cough drops, home remedies, essential oils…nothing is working!!

Before we try solving your issue, what caused it? Did you sing too loudly or have a long rehearsal? Are you coming down with an illness or it the pesky pollen count outside?

If you can figure out the cause, you can know how to better treat the issue!

Have you had enough water?

Hydration is the best way to keep your voice working at its best! Remember that the water does not actually touch your vocal folds, but it hydrates them through your bloodstream. When we are hydrated, our vocal folds remain lubricated and can freely move and make sound with less friction. Figure out how much water is ideal for your body type and try establishing a hydration routine. Herbal teas, juices and waters are all great as are fruits with a high water content (like watermelon and apples).

Are you warming up before singing and cooling down after a long rehearsal?

No matter how strong your voice is or how great your vocal technique is, you need to establish a warmup routine that you do every single day. Warmups should begin with easy slides, glides and patterns that do not require a large range or tricky movement. Humming, lip trills, straw phonation and neutral syllables are great ways to sing when you are warming up. 

Make sure you get adequate sleep

If you have trouble sleeping in the middle of tech week or show week, you may notice you feel more fatigue in your voice. Sleep is essential for singers because we must use our bodies as athletes do when we are performing. Stamina and flexibility are essential and a lack of sleep can seriously diminish your performance.

Monitor your voice use outside of performance

This may seem unrelated, but most of the time our vocal fatigue comes from how we speak rather than how we sing. If you are talking at a restaurant job or at a coffee shop all day and then heading into rehearsal without taking a break to rest your voice, you will have a harder time in rehearsal and will probably over sing. If you are having to talk over lots of noise in the green room before a show, your voice will already feel tired before the performance begins.

Think of your voice as a bank account. You only have a certain amount of voice you can draw from each day. If you are overdrawn in your vocal bank, you will eventually find yourself in trouble!

What are some easy ways to find relief after my voice is tired or hoarse?

While the things we drink should not ever come in contact with our vocal folds (if they did, we would be choking), certain drinks may soothe your throat and mouth. 

Will teas help soothe my voice?

Throat Coat tea is a favorite of many singers because they find it soothing when they have a scratchy or dry throat. Some singers prefer honey lemon tea for the same reason. Just remember that black teas will dehydrate you so you should look for herbal, caffeine free teas.

Will gargles help soothe my voice?

A warm salt water gargle can be helpful if your throat feels inflamed or sore when you swallow. Be careful about gargling other “remedies” you find online as many of the essential oils can cause sensitivity in people and if you are one of these people, you could feel even worse after gargling! (Speaking from experience here…it was not pretty and I couldn’t sing that night afterwards)

What can steam and nebulizing treatments do for my voice?

Steam can be the best way to find relief when your voice is tired, scratchy or your throat is sore. I recommend purchasing the Vicks personal face steamer but make sure you throw away the menthol discs because menthol will absolutely dry out your nasal passages and your throat! Make sure you don’t burn yourself and exercise caution with the hot steam.

VocalMist and mypurmist are two great options that provide a cool mist that can be used with a mask over the nose and mouth or a mouth piece. The fine particle saline mist can travel closer to the level of the vocal folds than the steam can, so you may find it more helpful! 

I hope these are helpful tips that will guide you back to singing with ease! Take care of that gorgeous voice of yours!