The importance of vocal hygiene in children

August 30th, 2018

Activities such as brushing your teeth, bathing and washing your hands are forms of hygiene that parents teach and encourage their children to use. However, one form of hygiene that is often overlooked is vocal hygiene. Vocal hygiene can be seen as the care of the voice and refers to steps we take to keep the voice healthy.

Children’s vocal folds are delicate and very small. As such, children who display abusive vocal behaviours can damage their vocal folds, often resulting in a breathy, hoarse or raspy voice. Abusive vocal behaviours include speaking loudly, shouting frequently, making sound effects, excessive crying/tantrums and excessive throat clearing/coughing. Factors such as medications, chronic asthma, allergies, gastric reflux and dehydration of the vocal folds may also contribute to voice problems.

Therefore, it is important for parents to provide a good role model for healthy voice use and to teach children how to care for their voices.

Vocal hygiene tips include:

  • Avoid shouting and using a loud voice
  • Avoid coughing and throat-clearing
  • Encourage quiet play activities – a time during the day when your child can rest their voice
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day in order to keep vocal folds hydrated
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coke, tea and coffee as caffeine is a diuretic
  • Keep the air in your home healthy as smoke, dust and chemical fumes irritate the vocal folds

For more tips on how to keep your child’s voice healthy, please see the link below:

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