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World Voice Day

World Voice Day encourages men and women, young and old, to assess their vocal health and take action to improve or maintain good voice habits. The observance of World Voice Day has been sponsored by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery since its inception in 2002.

Every year Cleveland Clinic recognizes World Voice Day on April 16. Free voice screenings are offered at a variety of locations and several events are scheduled in the community.

Your voice is an important part of your everyday life — in school, on the job, and during social interaction. But many people abuse their voice by smoking, shouting, drinking, or poor speaking technique. When voice issues occur treatment is often ignored which can lead to more significant problems. To be aware of the demands put on your voice and the need for preventative care is a step in the right direction.

Heed the call of World Voice Day on April 16.

Wherever you are these days, people are screaming over the crowd, talking way too loud on their cell phone, or yelling at their kids.  What that means is people do not recognize there are limits to what their voices can do and that there is damage they can do if they don't take care of their vocal cords.

Voice Health Tips

1. Listen to the sound of your voice. Hoarseness can be an indication of something as simple as laryngitis or as serious as laryngeal cancer. If your hoarseness lasts more than a few weeks, particularly if you smoke or do not have cold-like symptoms, make an appointment with a voice specialist.

2. Quit smoking. Tobacco, nicotine, chemicals and inhaled heat can create inflammation and swelling and cause cancer in the mouth, nose, throat and lungs.

3. Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation. Their dehydrating effects can cause strain on the vocal folds. To counteract it, drink one glass of water for each cup of coffee or alcoholic beverage.

4. Try not to scream, cheer loudly or talk over loud noise. Using your voice this way puts unnecessary strain on your vocal folds, can cause hoarseness and may result in vocal fold damage.

5. Manage acid reflux. Acids from the stomach can damage your throat. Signs of acid reflux include frequent heartburn, a bad taste in your mouth in the morning, frequent bloating or burping, a lump in the back of your throat, or getting hoarse frequently. Consult with a specialist to treat this problem.

6. Don’t force your voice when you are hoarse from laryngitis, a cold or the flu. When there is inflammation of the vocal folds, they are more prone to damage. Until you get better, avoid speaking loudly or for long periods, singing, or straining your voice.

7. Avoid frequent throat clearing or harsh coughing. Try sipping water or sucking on a cough drop instead.

8. Give your voice a rest. Be quiet for a while after talking too much or too loudly.

9. Drink plenty of water to help lubricate your vocal folds. Cleveland Clinic's Voice Center is a dedicated center of excellence to uniquely serve the voice disordered population, with special focus on the professional voice user. It is staffed by recognized experts from Speech Language Pathology and Laryngology.

10. Warm up your voice before teaching, giving speeches or singing. Do neck and shoulder stretches, glide from low to high tones on different vowel sounds, hum, do lip trills (like the engine of a motorboat) or tongue trills.

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To find a head and neck specialist for your needs, contact the Head & Neck Institute at 216.444.8500 (or toll-free 1.800.223.2273, ext. 48500)