You're leaving tomorrow for a world tour or you’re beginning your studio session for the double album, “The Return of Abbey Road” , and of course, you wake up with a sore throat and a voice sounding more like a rhino scraping his horn on a garage door, than the flamboyant refrain of "We Are The Champions" which you were counting on… Don’t panic…….
Easy enough to do, but the laryngitis diagnosis does have a few nuances that might interest you, especially if you thought your career was over.
There are two distinctions: dysphonia and aphonia, the first one usually preceding the second. Hoarse, tendency to increase low frequencies, and difficulty reaching the highs. Weakness and note frequency control are impossible. These are the symptoms of dysphonia, which can be brought about by cold or dry weather, long rehearsal times, forcing your vocal chords (you know what I’m talking about !) or even stress due to an upcoming gig…
Calm down, it’s not over yet. At this stage of the game you can still avoid a total aphonia, with nothing but a whisper coming out of your mouth!
There are a lot of conflicting opinions on the miracle remedy, and most singers have their own routines. Here are a few easy to follow instructions which have proven results.
- First of all, keep your mouth shut! Don’t make things worse by forcing things out or trying to clear your throat. Total vocal chord rest, as well as for your body, is the quickest way to new found health and can be a miracle worker if done diligently. Think about using that hand made wool scarf you got for your birthday: radical!
- Gargling helps to soothe and disinfect the vocal chords. The liquid doesn't actually come in contact with the vocal chords but the steam and the essential oils created by the hot liquid plus gargling, will calm things down. The 3 main ingredients are honey, thyme, lemon. A mix of the three is particularly effective, and make yourself some herbal tea with some thyme, 3 spoonfuls of honey and lemon juice. Drink it and gargle to keep the steam in contact with the vocal chords as long as possible.
- Propolis, which is a natural antibiotic produced by our bee friends, possesses impressive therapeutic virtues for vocal chords. You can easily find it at the pharmacy in spray form.
If things get worse, or after 48 hours they aren’t getting any better, see your doctor. He can determine if you need more exams or possibly give you a prescription for: cortisone, antibiotics, surgery… Whoa, did he say surgery? Slow down……you’re not there yet !