Summer, summer, summer time

The great British summer has actually arrived this year! And on the hottest day so far (and possible on record by later on today), Louisa explores the effects on the voice and the potential remedies:

Dehydration

Something that none of us want happening in the heat is Dehydration. Amongst other symptoms, it can cause headaches, feeling sleepy and dizziness. For singers, it affects the vocal cords; when this area doesn’t get enough water the area become brittle and more prone to damage. The solution is simple; drink more water!

Click here for a comprehensive guide for understanding when you’re hydrated (WARNING: there’s lots of talk about wee!)

Smoke

I live in Southend-on-sea, where the fresh air usually smells just like the sea - it’s wonderful. When the weather is like this, at around 12pm the smell of the air shifts to a very distinct and also wonderful smell … In the UK just being able to be outside is enough for us, this coupled with a glorious BBQ completes the ‘pretend you’re on holiday’ feel! Don’t despair singers - you can get involved; just avoid being in the wake of the smoke as it can cause coughing, wheezing and mucus buildup, all of which will aggravate your vocal cords.

Good Times!

Over the summer months there are plenty of good times to be had, outside, in a field, jumping and shouting! Music festivals are a great way to discover new music, sing along to your favourite band or go dancing into the early hours. The temptation when singing along is to do this at the top of your voice, especially if the atmosphere is electric. It’s often impromptu, without warming up and with bad technique. This is without the shouting and cheering thrown in for good measure. At the milder end you will come away with a hoarseness that may take a day or so to shift, however if you overdo it the affects on the vocal cords can be long lasting. The remedy is to try mouthing the words instead of fully singing along!

Click here to read how sports fans in the US risk long term damage to their voices from cheering on their favourite team

Air Conditioning

Not many of us have access to air conditioning in the UK, unless it’s in our cars. If you do you may think you’re one of the lucky ones, however air con plays havoc with our voices. It strips all of the moisture out of the air, creating a super dry environment, drying out our respiratory system. It also recycles the air in the room, which can push dust around and aggravate allergies.

If you’re in an office with air con, stay extra hydrated and if you can, use a humidifier for your desk area. Wherever possible, switch the air con off and instead use a fan and/or open a window.

I haven’t mentioned allergies: click here to read my previous article: ‘Singing with hayfever

And there you have it; some pointers on what us singers can be doing to help ourselves in the heat. If you have any specific questions around this topic please feel free to comment below or email us on hello@essexvocalcoaching.com with the blog title as the title of your message.