Shortly after the Clergy Health Initiative grant began in July 2007, the Duke Voice Care Center  (VCC) came to call, offering to help us with vocal health education, and to be a referral source for people having voice difficulties. Their term for clergy, teachers, music directors, actors, and other performers is "vocal athletes". You use and depend on your voice all day.
Did you know a little preventive care will help you avoid voice fatigue and chronic hoarseness?
The Voice Care Center recommends that you work with your doctor to get allergies and acid reflux under control, because both can irritate the vocal cords. Most of you don't smoke, but both smoking and inhalation of second-hand smoke are voice irritants. Finally, hydration is really important. Rather than coughing or clearing your throat, the VCC recommends staying well hydrated and sipping tepid water frequently. Plan two 15-minute blocks a day when you are resting your voice, even from quiet conversation. If chronic hoarseness persists for more than two weeks, seek medical attention.
And enjoy your elite status as a vocal athlete!
Yours in health,
Robin Swift, MPH
Clergy Health Initiative
Picture Credit: Flickr/Roy's World