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Prevent vocal cord damage and protect your singing voice by drinking the right liquids

Edited by Robyn McDowall, Anonymous, Eng, Maria

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How exactly does alcohol affect your vocal chords?

I'm an amateur singer who has never found any issues whilst performing and drinking alcohol or tea. Your article seems to be slightly misleading and fairly biased to me as it does not cover everyone's different voices. I personally think that you should note these drinks only affect some voices as many tea drinkers (yes, I have friend who only drink tea) have wonderful voices. Please allow people to know that you article is merely a thesis as it cannot be fully proven. I write this to you as I don't believe it is fair of you to lead people to believing your findings are full true and applicable to everyone. Also can you enlighten me as to how men's vocal chords and women's vocal chords might be differently affected?. Thank you for your valuable time. Robyn

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A study published in 2011 on National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI) by Eric J. Hunter, PhD, Marshall E. Smith, MD, and Kristine Tanner, PhD noted that women have issues with their vocal chords more frequently than men. It is believed to be the cause of anatomical differences in their respective laryngeal systems and endocrine differences.

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Our vocal chords reside on the thyroid cartilage of our bodies. For women, the vocal chords are smaller and thinner do to the fact that they do not grow with the laryngeal prominence (Adam's Apple) the way that males' thyroid cartilage widens and muscles thicken with testosterone through puberty. The thickness of the vocal chords protects from damage just like anything else that is thicker and stronger. For instance, if you are wearing jeans and slip your knees would be better protected than if you were wearing leggings which could possibly tear. These physiological differences in the vocal chords are why women can hit a higher and stronger vibrato than men can.

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Women can also experience faster vocal fatigue because the collagen used to fuel the muscles of the vocal chords are 59% less than a males collagen within the vocal chords. Men have higher concentrations of hyaluronic acid (HA) which aids the muscles in development and high shock absorption. Because it helps with viscosity and stiffness, there is less occurrence of vocal fold scarring in men.

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Hormonal changes that present themselves in the female body's vocal chords during menstruation and menopause were studied. It was shown that the vocal chords changed just as the vagina does during the hormonal changes. So there was more risk of fatigue and vocal changes like less range, loss of vocal power and high harmonics. It was suggested in a study that birth control which evens out hormones throughout a cycle may reduce the factors that present during menstruation. Occupational singers proved to be more vulnerable to these changes compared to the person who sings in their shower and car occasionally. D'haeseleer published a study on what happens to the female vocal chords post menopause and found that the decrease in estrogen resulting from menopause cause a breakdown in the connective tissue of the vocal chords.

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There are other differences compiled in studies such as acid reflux, depression, pain (menstrual and chronic), respiratory and whole body hydration all were experienced differently between women and men. It was even studied with gender reassignment patients. That study showed that although the hormones present were female during the transition period, the foundation blocks from male puberty overrode the hormonal supplements when it came to the vocal transitioning process. When you have some time since you are interested in this subject, browse through the NCBI website. They post related studies off to the side of a study you are reading and there are several fascinating studies about gender differences and vocal chords.

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As for the VisiHow article, thank you for your suggestions and the article will be changed to reflect the suggestion. You also could have made changes to the article because all of the articles are community-based and people like me personally, add to articles or rewrite some misleading information all the time to improve articles. Rome was not built in a day and neither can VisiHow improve without our community of knowledge providers just like you and me.

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Prevent vocal cord damage and protect your singing voice by drinking the right liquids


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Categories : Voice Lessons & Tips

Recent edits by: Eng, Anonymous, Robyn McDowall

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