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3 How to Minimize Vocal Fatigue

3 How to Minimize Vocal Fatigue

Melbourne Classical Radio - What to do when your voice feels tired at the end of the day or even in the middle of the day after a long presentation? In this article, I’ll share three tips that can help you spruce up your voice. 
Many voice clinics, voice therapists and vocal coaches observe a rising trend over the last year or so: many more people experience vocal fatigue at the end of the day after talking over Zoom or other online video conferencing platforms. 

Some people get vocally tired even after giving one presentation online or after using their voice with speech recognition software. And it is true that we use our voice differently in different situations, whether it’s online or offline. For example, you use our voice differently when talking to a child and when talking to a police officer. 

You use your voice differently when speaking to a friend and when speaking to your boss. Also, you may be using your voice differently when communicating online and offline. And while we use our voice differently in different situations, as long as you use it in a healthy and efficient way, it should last all day long. 

If your voice gets tired, it is telling you that your voice is either lacking endurance or your vocal technique may be putting too much stress on the vocal folds, which you may perceive as discomfort or strain after using your voice. 

Let me share 3 tips with you on how to give your voice the best chance to recover as quickly as possible. 

Rest Your Voice When your voice feels tired 


It is telling you that it needs a break from any type of voice use. This may be difficult for talkative people or people who use their voice for work. But when I say rest your voice, I don’t mean absolutely no talking. 

You can still use your voice, especially for necessary communication needs. But resting your voice may mean avoiding talking in noisy environments or talking to a group of people. These vocal tasks require increased breath pressure under the vocal folds and increased vocal effort, which puts more strain on them. 

That is the last thing a tired voice needs. When your voice gets tired, try to avoid any high intensity vocal tasks, such as loud talking, screaming, or yelling. If you need to use your voice, use it in a gentle manner: soft voicing with gentle beginnings of words. 

Also, it is very helpful to schedule your voice use as well as vocal breaks in your calendar. Yes, I really mean it. Block out time periods for vocal rests in your calendar after a long presentation, teaching, Zoom call or conference calls. Give your voice a break that it deserves. 

Try Laryngeal Massage Have you ever tried laryngeal massage before? 


Let me know in the comments below! If not, that is ok. Laryngeal massage is a manual technique to eliminate vocal strain, during which a specially trained professional or yourself use hands and fingers to touch and manipulate your larynx to achieve less tension in this area. Laryngeal massage is not for everyone but many people love it. 

The larynx, which houses the vocal folds, is surrounded by many muscles. Some muscles are deep in the larynx, some are on the surface. Tension in any of these muscles can cause the voice to get tired easily. 

By massaging the muscles and manipulating the larynx into a more relaxed position, we release tension from a tired voice. In this article, I want to show you a quick way to massage your hyoid bone. It is a U-shaped bone in your throat and your larynx is suspended from this bone. 

If the muscles around the hyoid bone are tired or strained, your larynx will be in a disadvantaged position too. So, let’s do this quick self-massage together. Find your hyoid bone. Slide your finger from your chin down. 

The hyoid bone is the first bump on your neck. Then move your pointer and your thumb to the sides to feel the rest of the bone. With a very gentle pressure and circular motions, massage the hyoid bone for as long as it is comfortable, several seconds or a few minutes. If you feel adventurous, you can then move the hyoid bone from side to side very gently and slowly. 

How did you like this massage? In our coaching program, I encourage the members to create a short daily routine for releasing tension and laryngeal self-massage is very popular because it is effective. 

SOVT Exercises 


SOVT stands for semi-occluded vocal tract exercises and it’s a fancy name for exercises during which we create a partial closure or narrowing in the vocal tract. The beauty of these types of exercises is that they create optimal conditions for vocal fold vibrations and therefore, release tension from a tired voice.

Doing vocal exercises when your voice is already tired is not intuitive. And I just told you in tip #1 that a tired voice needs a break. Well, SOVT exercises when done properly use a healthy type of phonation – sound production. 

They position the vocal folds into an optimal configuration, they equalize the pressures above and below the vocal folds and they take away strain from using your voice. SOVT exercises are very gentle on your vocal folds and they use minimal vocal effort. 

Therefore, semi-occluded vocal tract exercises are a great choice for people with tired voices. There are many different SOVT exercises, including straws exercises, humming, lip trills, or sounds made on different vowels and consonants. 

But what if you don’t have a straw handy or what if you don’t know any of the other exercises. Here is a quick and easy SOVT exercise that anyone can do. Cup your hand into a tube and make a neutral sound like “uh” while blowing through the opening in your hand. 

You can make the opening bigger or smaller depending on how much resistance you want. For releasing tension from a tired voice, I recommend low resistance because high resistance could put too much back pressure on the vocal folds. 

So, make the opening bigger. And just sustain a sound in your comfortable range. Don’t push your voice to make the sound too long. Just what feels easy and relaxing. If you feel strain when making this sound, make the opening in your hand even bigger or use less air for the sound. 

Easy, right? Bonus tip If your voice gets tired occasionally and you can pinpoint the reason for vocal tiredness, such as talking at a loud party, giving a long presentation to a big audience without proper amplification, or singing when sick, these three steps may be very helpful in sprucing up your voice. 

However, if your voice gets tired frequently, if your voice gives up or gets hoarse on a regular basis, then go and have it checked by a voice specialist. You may actually need more than these three steps to avoid getting vocally tired. There may be more factors to consider.

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