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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Caring for Your Voice During Wildfire Season

Wildfires are raging across several western states now, and with them come a number of factors to consider. Obviously, if you’re in an area being directly impacted by a fire, then your immediate concerns are probably centered on the safety of your family and property. However, if you’re not being affected in this way but are still in an area besieged by smoke, then you need to start thinking about how the smoke can affect your vocal care routine.

Smoke can wreak havoc on your vocal folds and respiratory system, in turn impacting your voice and your work as a voice over professional. To help minimize the impacts of living in an area where wildfires are burning, there are a few steps you can take to keep your system running smoothly and your voice sounding as good as it always does. One of the most important is to stay hydrated.  While you should be doing this anyway – a properly hydrated body will produce better vocal sounds – drinking plenty of water is particularly important when there is smoke present.

In addition to plain old water, some actors recommend supplementing your fluid intake with Throat Coat tea or regular tea with honey and lemon.  This can help soothe throat irritation, which is pretty much a given when breathing in smoky air. Using a humidifier, an Albuterol inhaler, a Neti rinse, or even wearing a medical mask are other ways to help combat the smoke and better care for your voice during fire season. Change the filters for your HVAC system more frequently. You'll find they are doing there job diligently during this time. 

Obviously, wildfires are out of your control as a voice over actor, but taking proper care of your voice while the fires are burning IS something you’re in charge of.  Use the tips above while the fires are burning to help your voice – and voice over career – stay in top shape.

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