Protecting your voice at games and concerts

A crowd watching a band perform on stage.

With spring sports in full swing and many musical artists about to embark on national tours, we’re bound to loudly belt tunes and scream and shout to cheer on our favorite sports teams. Baylor College of Medicine speech-language pathologists in the Bobby R. Alford Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery share tips on protecting your voice from potential damage while using it at these events.

“If you’re going to yell, try not to do it for an hour straight. Stay hydrated with water before and during these events; our vocal folds like to be well hydrated,” said Sarah Blumhardt.

She advises to avoid irritants like smoking during these times. If someone has acid reflux, they should avoid drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.

“Alcohol is a big thing at sporting events and concerts, and that, along with reflux, can make the voice worse,” said Blumhardt.

If where you are is outside, environmental factors can impact your voice as well. This includes being in a dry climate and areas with a lot of dust and allergens.

“If you are somewhere that can cause you to have environmental allergies, where you’re going to have increased mucus, you may want to up your allergy management,” Blumhardt said.

Symptoms of vocal damage include throat pain, hoarseness or a change in your voice, such as a rough, strained, breathy or weak tone. If these symptoms last for more than two weeks, it’s time to see an ENT specialist.

“When something happens to a person’s voice, they realize how much using their voice impacts their life. In our clinic, we see patients with serious voice problems and see how they struggle daily,” Blumhardt said. “A lot of people take their voices for granted.

“Our voices are very important; we like to say that the voice is the window to the soul,” said Madeline Brungardt.

April is Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month and World Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Both head and neck cancer and Parkinson’s Disease can significantly impact a person’s voice. World Voice Day is Tuesday, April 16.

Visit Baylor’s Center for Airway, Voice and Swallowing to learn more about vocal health and how to protect your voice daily.

By Taylor Barnes

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