You are here

Tips to prevent — and recover — a hoarse voice

hoarse voice

Sore throats and lost voices plague college basketball fans every March, as fans yell for their teams in front of their TVs or at their favorite sports bar.

The same situation would be true for a fan attending a concert or other loud event.

Shaunda Rodriguez, DO, an ear, nose and throat specialist with Ascension Medical Group says preparation is the key to not losing your voice.

“When you’re going to watch a game that you’re going to get excited about, the most important thing you can do is drink plenty of water,” she says. “Water keeps the vocal cords moist and lowers the risk of causing trauma to them when you yell.”

Alcohol and soda do not hydrate the vocal cords, she says.

Dr. Rodriguez also recommends warming up your voice and yelling from your lungs.

“Try not to tense up your shoulder muscles or reach a pitch that is too high or low for you,” she says. “Doing that can hurt or damage your vocal cords.”

If you've gone too far...

If you’ve been yelling and cheering during the game and you begin to feel hoarse, give your voice a rest, she says.

“By continuing to yell, you run the risk of traumatizing your vocal cords,” she says.

You can cause them to bruise (hemorrhage) or develop nodules or polyps and sores, she says. Following the game, try to rest your voice. Avoid yelling or whispering, as both can cause further damage.

If you have a cough, drainage or clearing of the throat, try to avoid yelling and rely on clapping instead.

She also says everyone should cool down their voice. You can do this by humming and allowing your lips to vibrate.

If your voice remains hoarse or your throat is still sore two weeks after the event, she says you should have someone look at your vocal cords.

The low-down

Before the game

  • Drink eight to 10 glasses (eight ounces) of water throughout the day
  • Warm up your voice by doing vocal exercises:
    • Say “me” from low to high
    • Say “Eee” from high to low

During the game

  • Stop yelling if you’re feeling hoarse or starting to feel like you need to clear your throat

After the game

  • Cool down your voice by humming, allowing your lips to vibrate
  • Rest your voice — don’t whisper or yell

If you’re already sick

  • Don’t yell, clap instead