The vocal cords, more accurately called vocal folds, are a pair of mucous infoldings stretched along the larynx or the voicebox. Their continuous vibration provides the voice that is heard.
The voice is the primary method of expressing oneself and communicating with others. For singers, actors and performers however, the voice is what eventually defines them, their careers, and, frankly, their income. Thus to maintain the best voice possible to keep up with all kinds of performances, the vocal cords must be well hydrated. A dry set of vocal cords gives way to voice cracking and possibly sore throat, which is definitely unacceptable and risky for the career.
Thus, here are some proven methods you can do to ensure that you have moist vocal cords:
- Water. Ingest at least 8-10 glasses (at least 250ml each) of decaffeinated fluids daily. This includes water and fruit juices. Avoid coffee, tea and carbonated drinks as they actually promote drying instead of hydration. Hydration only promotes great vocal cords, but well body, spirit and mind. Tip: To keep track of your fluid intake of at least 2 liters, you may opt to fill 2 empty 1-liter soda bottles with your decaffeinated drink of choice. Then throughout the day, subtract your drinks from these two bottles so you may be able to estimate how much you have consumed and how much you still need to take.
- Vaporization. Maintain overall hydration even when sleeping. You can do this by placing a vaporizer near your bed. Vaporizers also have the added benefit of soothing headaches and promoting healthy relaxation. Another is to drink at least one glass of water prior to sleeping especially after brushing your teeth.
- Lozenges. Take in some throat lozenges or more popularly known as cough drops. Usually these contain a bit of anesthetic, so make sure you pick the non-numbing variant if possible. Lozenges have the ability to lubricate the throat and relieve irritated tissues. In addition, some types have added antibacterial properties that may double as breath fresheners.
- Gum. If you feel that you have a dry mouth, chew your favorite gum as this stimulates saliva production thereby serving as a natural moisture coat for the back of your throat. Remember to spit out the gum as it starts to dry because instead of producing saliva, it tends to consume it.
- Antihistamines. Refrain from taking antihistamines (Claritin or Benadryl) or decongestants. Remember that these drugs are used to “dry” the sinus and throat, making them useful for cases of runny nose or allergies. Unfortunately, these drugs dry out the vocal cords, too! Non-throat drying alternatives include homeopathic remedies, steam baths, or nasal flushing.
- Relax and Rest. Last but not the least, relax and rest your vocal cords. This is the most important step but always taken for granted by many. There is no better way to maximize the functions of your vocal cords other than allowing them to rest and recuperate from strenuous action.
Just follow the tips above and you will surely be able to sing your way through a concert with a breeze!