Vocal Fatigue & Hoarseness - The Zoom ‘Sickness’
Hello, fellow clinicians, zoomers, and teleconferencers!
My fellow SLPs and I were talking and the discussion around voice use during telehealth sessions came up and in turn, we all realized something. We figured out that our voices are being negatively impacted seemingly secondary to the increase in telehealth treatment sessions we have been doing. Ironic I know, but this irony is not new to our field, as voice problems (typically vocal fatigue) are all too common amongst the very providers that offer voice therapy. As telehealth therapy services and teleconferencing in general are seemingly going to become progressively more common, I think it’s pertinent that we take a real look at how to use our voices during telehealth and teleconferencing sessions.
Vocal Use & Maintenance Strategies for Online Communication: Increase Hydration
We all know hydration is important to vocal health, but do we always prioritize hydration for ourselves? Waking up with a dry mouth is commonplace especially here in Las Vegas and a perfect example of what happens to you when you haven’t drunk enough water in a while. Personally, I strive to maintain appropriate water intake, but sometimes I lapse or forget to bring water somewhere when I’m out and about. I typically notice the effects of this by the time I get back home. So, it’s best to keep water nearby and drink water regularly throughout the day.
Use Vocal Exercises
This may seem like a ‘duh’ recommendation to speech-language pathologists (SLPs), but if you notice your voice seems tired or hoarse, perhaps you should try voice exercises. As someone who has a history of overusing and misusing his voice, I’ve made a conscious effort to practice voice exercises more regularly especially if I’m noticing increased tiredness or vocal fatigue. I’ve noticed a benefit from completing these exercises regularly. For you non-SLPs, doing voice exercises can help to improve your overall voice, lessen vocal tiredness, and improve your voice recovery after voice misuse. If this interests you or you feel you need voice therapy, you can reach out to SFS Therapies to find out more about voice services.
Practice Vocal Rest
I know this may seem like another obvious recommendation, but I’m the first to admit that actively practicing vocal rest is easier said than done. However, we are definitely capable of setting aside the time for vocal rest, especially on the weekends and after our workdays have ended. Extended vocal rest can often give you an immediate boost to voice, especially when experiencing a more tired or hoarse voice.