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VOCAL HEALTH – THE ROLE OF HYDRATION (PART – 2)

A few factors that contribute to dehydration of the vocal folds:

These are a few indicators [Note that the following symptoms could also indicate other vocal and physical problems]

  • Caffeine in coffee, cocoa, chocolates, colas and to a lesser extent in tea
  • Alcohol
  • Dry, polluted, hot, air conditioned and air heated environments
  • Sugar/ sweets/ lozenges
  • Mouth breathing- habitual or due to a blocked nose
  • Health issues and disorders like diabetes, hypertension, anemia, among others
  • Medications used for colds, cough, depression, anxiety, hypertension, very high doses of vitamin C, among others

Staying hydrated for a healthy voice:

The amount of water you drink depends on your health, lifestyle, physical activity and environment. A general recommendation for healthy adults, especially if you are a professional or occupational voice user is between 2.5 to 3.5 liters of water in a day. Here are a few ways to keep yourself hydrated and ensure that you drink water however busy you are. [It does not apply to you if you have renal, cardiac or other health issues that call for restriction of water intake]

  • Don’t wait to drink water till you are thirsty. Thirst is a sign of dehydration.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables as they will contribute to your water intake. They will also give you the additional health benefits from fiber, vitamins and minerals
  • Reduce your consumption of coffee, colas, alcohol and other vocal dehydrators mentioned above. For every cup/unit of coffee, cola, alcohol you consume, drink an extra glass or two of water.
  • If you spend a good part of your day in an air conditioned or heated space, live or work in a smoky or dusty environment or under hot lights in a studio or on stage, drink more water.
  • Keep water handy at all times. Always carry a bottle of water with you. Have a bottle or two at your work desk.


  • Health issues and disorders like diabetes, hypertension, anemia, among others
  • Medications used for colds, cough, depression, anxiety, hypertension, very high doses of vitamin C, among others
  • Start your day with a glass or two of water.
  • The color of your urine is an indicator of how well hydrated your body and the vocal folds are. The paler, the better.
  • Air travel dehydrates the vocal folds. Keep your talking in the airplane to an absolute minimum and drink more water when you fly.
  • Keep your vocal folds well hydrated before a performance, presentation or rehearsal
  • Seek medical help if you are a mouth breather

Warm or cold?

What is important is to drink enough water whichever way you like it. If cold water does not affect your throat in any way, there is no reason for you to stop drinking it. However, drinking cold or iced water may affect the throat possibly through vasoconstriction i.e by shrinking your blood vessels. Drinking cold or iced water just before or during a performance may constrict the throat muscles. Water at room temperature, during a performance/presentation is a safe bet.

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